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Commuters: A Novel Kindle Edition

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Length: 386 pages
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Well into their 70s, Winnie McClelland and wealthy Jerry Trevis have fallen in love, causing consternation among their extended family. Jerry's daughter, Annette, in particular, feels financially threatened when her newlywed father moves from Chicago to a small town in New York State, where he's purchased the largest, most ostentatious house in Hartfield for his bride; worried that her inheritance might go to Winnie's family, Annette sues to freeze her father's assets. Meanwhile, Winnie's daughter, Rachel, has asked her new stepfather for a sizable loan to help deal with her ill husband's overwhelming health-care bills. Annette's son, Avery, a recovering drug addict and promising young chef, is also looking to Jerry for the resources to start up his own restaurant. Further conflict arises from Winnie's plans to cut down a historic tree for a new front-yard swimming pool, a move that threatens to alienate the entire town. Tedrowe exhibits some beginner's awkwardness in her debut, particularly in her self-conscious euphemisms for septuagenarian sex, but shows great promise in her compassionate, nuanced depiction of love—among the old and young alike—and her confident handling of alternating, multigenerational narrators. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Why shouldn’t a 78-year-old bride have a lavish June wedding? Winnie not only marries Jerry, a confident, wealthy, octogenarian Chicago businessman, in style, the newlyweds also buy a huge old mansion graced by a venerable sycamore. The couple’s children are appalled. Winnie’s daughter Rachel is struggling to keep her family afloat as her husband recovers from a severe brain injury. Jerry’s daughter Annette instructs her son Avery, a college drop-out and rehab graduate living in New York City, to keep an eye on his grandfather in his new Upstate home, but Jerry’s enthusiasm for Avery’s burgeoning culinary skills is hardly what she had in mind. Rachel turns to Jerry for financial assistance; Annette launches a vicious legal battle to protect her inheritance; and Winnie ignites vehement protests as she plans to cut down the landmark tree. Tedrowe is an exceptionally adept first-time novelist, creating a thoroughly engrossing plot, redolent settings, and intriguing characters coping valiantly with fear, terrible decisions, and the bewitchment of money. Tedrowe’s tale of family conflict, shelter, love, and loss is suspenseful, funny, and tender. --Donna Seaman

Product Details

  • File Size: 468 KB
  • Print Length: 386 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0061859478
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books (June 17, 2010)
  • Publication Date: June 29, 2010
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003P2W1GG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #667,033 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Emily Gray Tedrowe is the author of Commuters, which was a named a Best New Paperback by Entertainment Weekly, an IndieNext Notable Pick, and a Target Breakout Book. Her short fiction has been published in the Chicago Tribune's Printers Row Journal, Fifty-Two Stories, and Other Voices. Blue Stars was conceived during her brother's Marine Corps service in the Iraq war. Originally from New York City, Emily now lives in Chicago with her family.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By DC Mom & Teacher on September 7, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm reading this as a bookclub selection and find myself engrossed with the characters's lives. I'll suddenly look up because I've forgetten where I am! I sometimes flip ahead a few pages wanting to know what's going to happen next. This book is written in an easy-to-read style that alternates between characters and their perspectives. Tedrowe adeptly puts herself in the mind of a young-20s wanna-be chef Avery, middle-aged, mid-life-crisis Rachel, and elderly center-of-the-family-drama Winnie. I especially like the relationship between Avery and Winnie: it's endearing without being sappy. This is a fabulous debut novel and I look forward to reading another of her books!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By LAMama on June 29, 2010
Format: Paperback
I was lucky enough to get an early copy of this beautiful novel and read it over the weekend. Absolutely knocked me out! I haven't loved a book this much in ages and have already ordered copies for my mother and best friend. The writing is gorgeous, the characters and story are unforgettable. COMMUTERS is an insightful, elegant, modern take on love, money, and family. Perfection.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Miss Hammond on October 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
My rating system: 5 stars = all time favorite; 4 stars = excellent, highly recommended; 3 stars = solid, enjoyable; 2 stars = disliked more than I liked; 1 stars = poor, would not recommend

I can already tell COMMUTERS is one of those books that will stick with me for a while, quietly, unobtrusively, somewhere in the back of my mind. After finishing the last page, I felt a quiet ache in my throat that still resurfaces whenever I go back and think about these characters and this story.

I like to describe COMMUTERS as the portrait of a family at a major turning point. The matriarch of one family, the inimitable Winnie, marries the patriarch of another, the equally inimitable -- or so we think -- Jerry. This joins two families into one and turns everyone's lives upside down. The book begins with this event, and then proceeds through the heartbreaking aftermath through the alternating perspectives of three characters -- Winnie herself, Winnie's harried daughter, Rachel, and Jerry's troubled grandson, Avery.

The alternating viewpoints were fantastic, and each had a distinct feel without jarring the reader -- Winnie's organized, quiet determination; Rachel's exhaustion, grief, and frustration; and Avery's tempestuous passion, swinging between the extreme highs and lows appropriate for a young twenty-something male. At the beginning of each new chapter, I would be sad to leave Winnie but excited to get back to Rachel, and so on. That is quite an achievement in itself.

I don't want to say too much more about the plot, because the places Tedrowe takes this family are often surprising and always heart-wrenching, but I will say that the writing is lovely.
Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on July 1, 2010
Format: Paperback
Septuagenarians Winnie McClelland and Jerry Trevis fall in love. Their respective families are not happy with this development, but his goes viral when he leaves his affluent Chicago home to move in with his love in Hartfield in Upstate New York.

His daughter Annette fears Winnie and her crew will inherit her father's fortune so she sues to take control of his vast assets. Her daughter Rachel pleads with her new wealthy stepfather to pay off the enormous loan she took out to cover her ailing spouse's health-care costs that threaten to bankrupt them. His grandson Chef Avery, a recovering drug addict, asks his grandfather to fund a new restaurant he wants to open. Meanwhile in their grandiose mansion, the newlyweds anger the townsfolk when Winnie considers removing a historical tree to make way for a swimming pool; money will not buy temporary loyalty this time.

This is excellent family drama as the younger generations see the geriatric pair as money and not a human couple. Ironically, Winnie and Jerry add to that belief by their approach to the locals in which money has always bought Trevis loyalty. The various members of the McClelland and Trevis families rotate narration so that the audience understands what each perceives are threats when the elderly duet marry; changing what has been the status quo dynamics for quite awhile. Except for the sex scenes between the newlyweds that fail to flow freely but instead come across as a forced attempt to make a point, readers will enjoy the discerning Commuters.

Harriet Klausner
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By ObsessiveReader_1279 on June 29, 2010
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this book when I read an early release. I think that its themes of family, marriage, divorce, and growing older will resonate with readers of all ages but that its especially suited for a book club discussion. I'm definitely looking forward to a second book from this first time novelist! More Please!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By ErnieO on December 29, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book did not live up to my expectations. After reading the reviews online I expected a lot more. I found it disjointed (at one point I was sure I had somehow skipped ahead on my kindle and went back to try to figure out what I had missed - nothing missed, just badly written) and unbelievable. The timeline makes no sense - way too much happens in a short period of time. Because the book is so rushed I found that I could not buy into any of the characters. I wouldn't recommend this book.
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