Honestly, We Meant Well by Grant Ginder (3 out of 5)

Another book promising to be falling down hilarious. It wasn’t bad at all, but a lot of it, from the angles of certain characters, felt more sad than funny. This caught my eye when it was in the Ingram catalog, but it was due to that cover. What a great cover; promising hijinks, tomfoolery, and comedy. And yes, those were present and accounted for, but so was a lot of sadness.

Everything about the Wrights is wrong. Sue Ellen, the head of the family, has a great job as a professor, a wife, and a mother. But she’s lying to herself. Her husband Dean has been cheating on her and her young son Will is a major work in progress. Sue Ellen is asked to give a lecture to a senior cruise group in Greece. After much prodding of her family, they decide to take a family trip with her at the same time. Throw in Dean’s superfan/Will’s friend Ginny and Eleni, owner of the inn where the family stays while in Greece, and you have quite a little group. Dean is the character I wanted to smack with a copy of the Necronomicon. What a selfish, self-effacing bastard. What Sue Ellen is going through-middle age-is something everyone goes through, and I felt that Ginder covered it well. Will is just a mess, and I felt like his storyline arc didn’t get the full treatment it should have. Ginny was a contradiction in every way, yet steadfast enough in her beliefs that she comes across as the only one (besides Sue Ellen) with any sense. This novel was similiar to The Family Fang but on steroids. That’s the best description I can come up with. I applaud Ginder for bringing us a strong, female character who doesn’t go milquetoast at the end. Overall, it was a good read. Not overwhelming in familial brilliance by any means, but entertaining as it can be with the themes of self-confidence and darkness explored. It would make a good book club book, certainly. I could also see someone trying to make a movie out of it, because it cries out Hollyweird. Honestly, We Meant Well is currently available in hardcover from Flatiron Press, a division of MacMillan.

~ by generationgbooks on July 25, 2019.

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