What I’m Reading: Tom Lake

I don’t remember who but someone mentioned to me that I might like the book Tom Lake by Ann Patchett. I had seen the book but had bypassed it. I’ve read other books by the author and one I loved…one I hated. I was afraid this would be one I hated…but I decided to give it a chance after it was recommended to me. So I looked to see where it was available from…Libby was the option but shucks. It would be months before it was my turn to read it. I decided not to burn an Audible credit for it as again, I was skeptical about the book.

So did I like the book? YES! It kind of surprised me. I was so ready to get a few chapters in and abandon it. Before I started I have given myself permission to not finish it…but I did finish it and am glad I did.

I can so relate to the main character of the book. Her name was Laura but when she moved out into the world she told everyone to spell it “Lara” instead. My real name is Jeanne but people would call me Jean. My parents called me Jo. When I went to college. I told everyone I met to call me Jo. It was my way to avoid being called Jean.

I too gave up pursuits to stay on the farm with a farmer just like Lara did.
I too valued our home life and our kids beyond everything else.

It was a story I could put myself into and anytime there is a book like that, I enjoy it.

Here is what Amazon has to say:
In the spring of 2020, Lara’s three daughters return to the family’s orchard in Northern Michigan. While picking cherries, they beg their mother to tell them the story of Peter Duke, a famous actor with whom she shared both a stage and a romance years before at a theater company called Tom Lake. As Lara recalls the past, her daughters examine their own lives and relationship with their mother and are forced to reconsider the world and everything they thought they knew.

Tom Lake is a meditation on youthful love, married love, and the lives parents have led before their children were born. Both hopeful and elegiac, it explores what it means to be happy even when the world is falling apart. As in all of her novels, Ann Patchett combines compelling narrative artistry with piercing insights into family dynamics. The result is a rich and luminous story, told with profound intelligence and emotional subtlety, that demonstrates once again why she is one of the most revered and acclaimed literary talents working today.”

Amazon readers gave the book 4.3 stars. I think I would give it the same. The book totally kept my attention and had me wanting Lara to tell me more of her story just like her daughters in the story wanted more.

If you are interested in the book, you can find it HERE.

7 thoughts on “What I’m Reading: Tom Lake”

  1. I am glad you gave the book a chance. I read it this summer and loved it, too. But then, I have been a long-time Ann Patchett fan, starting with Bel Canto back in 2001.

  2. Read it and loved it also! I really appreciate getting recommendations for books as I generally listen while I’m quilting. Sure makes the time pass! Happy New to you, your family and all your readers!

  3. I listened to the audio book where Meryl Streep read it – she really increased the pleasure. I love Ann Patchett so was prepared to like the book but I’d highly recommend getting the audio version.

  4. This is my favorite book of 2023! I also liked the friendships and intimacy among the summer stock cast. I’m in a play every summer and we work so intensely with fellow cast members for a few weeks, then go our separate ways.

  5. Jo you are full of surprises. This is the first time I heard you speak of Jo as your nickname. Glad you had a good book to finish the year with.

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