The way I felt about Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty is hard to put into words. Fern and Edgar infuriated me from the very beginning. They scorned those with money but lived completely on what Fern’s wealthy family gave them. When the well went dry and Fern tried to convince Edgar to join his father’s lucrative business so that they could, I don’t know – EAT, he had a tantrum and promptly slept with the first person he met. When Fern found out, she threw her own tantrum and took a road trip unbeknownst to Edgar. He had decided to go on vacation with his new lady friend leaving their 3 young children unattended, albeit accidentally, at home.
You are going on a journey, an adventure. Your whole regular life will be here when you return. It will be just as plain as ever. – Ramona Ausubel, Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty
Their selfishness and irresponsibility made me angry at first, but I ended up understanding and even identifying with their midlife crisis. The story is told alternatively between present day and flashbacks. This method created a connection to the characters in a way that would not have worked if told chronologically. It reminded me of Fates and Furies in a lot of ways. The secondary characters were well thought out and the interspersing of how the children held up kept me engaged in a story I thought initially I would hate. The giant was my favorite secondary character. His story was a great edition to the novel.
It fell apart for me a bit for me at the end with too many questions unanswered. Upon completion, I gave it 3 stars, but after thinking about it more, I’ve decided to upgrade to 3.5 stars. I did enjoy it, I just can’t put my finger on why.
Have you ever had this kind of experience with a book?
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty by Ramona Ausubel
Published by Penguin on June 14th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Family Life, Historical, Literary
Buy on Amazon
"A timely, sophisticated tale [that] explores what happens when a charmed life loses its luster.” –O Magazine
From the award-winning author of No One Is Here Except All of Us, an imaginative novel about a wealthy New England family in the 1960s and '70s that suddenly loses its fortune—and its bearings.
An NPR Best Book of 2016
One of Best Books of Summer –O Magazine
One of The 12 Summer Books That Everyone Will Be Talking About –Harper’s Bazaar
One of 20 Books Perfect for Your Summer Vacay –Refinery29
One of 22 Summer Books You Won’t Want to Miss –Huffington Post
One of 19 Summer Books that Everyone Will be Talking About – Elle.com
One of the Most Anticipated Books of 2016 –The Millions
One of 30 Best New Books for Summer 2016 –Good Housekeeping
One of 30 Books You Should Read this Summer –Chicago Tribune
Labor Day, 1976, Martha's Vineyard. Summering at the family beach house along this moneyed coast of New England, Fern and Edgar—married with three children—are happily preparing for a family birthday celebration when they learn that the unimaginable has occurred: There is no more money. More specifically, there's no more money in the estate of Fern's recently deceased parents, which, as the sole source of Fern and Edgar's income, had allowed them to live this beautiful, comfortable life despite their professed anti-money ideals. Quickly, the once-charmed family unravels. In distress and confusion, Fern and Edgar are each tempted away on separate adventures: she on a road trip with a stranger, he on an ill-advised sailing voyage with another woman. The three children are left for days with no guardian whatsoever, in an improvised Neverland helmed by the tender, witty, and resourceful Cricket, age nine.
Brimming with humanity and wisdom, humor and bite, and imbued with both the whimsical and the profound, Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty is a story of American wealth, class, family, and mobility, approached by award-winner Ramona Ausubel with a breadth of imagination and understanding that is fresh, surprising, and exciting.