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Reader! Reader!

Literary fiction, classics, dystopian, history, memoir, prize winners, and of course the 1001 books. You really might catch me reading anything!

Currently reading

Empire of Cotton: A Global History
Sven Beckert
Progress: 220/656 pages

Like Family

Like Family: A Novel - Paolo Giordano, Anne Milano Appel

This little book as sold and shelved as a novel. But it reads like a memoir. And on a page before the TOC, Giordano writes that there was a Mrs A in his life, this was inspired by her, is an homage to her, details have been changed. But not the detail of the narrator's job--he is a physicist, and Giordano has a PhD in particle physics.

The title tells all—"Like Family". Mrs A, their son's nanny, has been with this family since Nora was on bedrest while pregnant with 9-year-old Emanuele. Previously, she had been Nora's father's domestic help. She runs the household, knows everyone's quirks, and loves the boy. When she is diagnosed with cancer, what will she do? What will they do? Long widowed with no children of her own, her closest family are some cousins. Nora, her husband, and Emanuele are like family--they worry, they cry, they reassure, they take Mrs A for appointments, they help, they encourage. But what does being "like family" get from distant relatives? What can you do at the end?

This book reads so strongly like a memoir that I am sure many would consider it good writing. Personally, it just makes me uncomfortable. I love memoirs, and I read a fair number. And I would much rather read Giordano's true account of their time with his Mrs A. Though being "like family" and not "family", maybe that idea wouldn't go over well with the cousins?