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Thank You for All Things (Bantam Discovery) Mass Market Paperback – September 30, 2008

4.4 out of 5 stars 70 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In her new novel, Kring (The Book of Bright Ideas) crafts a beautiful, witty story that rings with heartbreak, hope and laughter. Lucy McGowan is a 12-year-old genius with a photographic memory, an even more brilliant brother, Milo (IQ: 180), and a single mother, Tess, living in Chicago. What Lucy has that her brother doesn't is curiosity and people smarts, a quality that propels her to unearth the hidden relationships and buried secrets of her family. An imaginative and headstrong girl, Lucy finds herself on a grim family visit to her sickly, estranged grandfather in Timber Falls, Wis. Witnessing her mom's unshakable hatred for her dying father, Lucy begins to investigate her family's past; her love for the sick old patriarch she knows is challenged repeatedly by what she finds out about the angry, abusive man he used to be. Kring's brilliance lies in her powerful reversals and revelations, taking readers and characters on a dramatic, emotional roller coaster. (Sept. 30)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Booklist

Precocious 11-year-old Lucy McGowan lives an isolated life with her mother, Tess, and her twin brother, Milo, who has an astronomical IQ. Homeschooled, the twins rarely leave their dilapidated Chicago apartment, so Lucy is thrilled when her mother reluctantly takes her grandmother, called Oma, back to Timber Falls, Wisconsin, to take care of Tess’s dying father. Lucy sees this as an opportunity to ask about her family, especially her father. But her mother speaks little about the family and refuses to tell Lucy anything about her biological father. Preternaturally perceptive, Lucy recognizes that something important keeps her mother from sustaining relationships with men, particularly when Lucy entertains thoughts of having a father in her life. Lucy’s quest to find out about her father unearths the many skeletons in her family history and changes the family dynamics. Kring explores the far-ranging effects of family trauma with a deft hand as her child narrator uncovers the past, bringing light and hope. A touching novel. --Patty Engelmann --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Bantam Discovery
  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Discovery; Reprint edition (September 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553591495
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553591491
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,522,708 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Gayla M. Collins VINE VOICE on October 17, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Sandra Kring is gifted with an ability to create characters that remain in your psyche long after the story is read. Through them you are able to grasp concepts and understand behaviors of those damaged by a harmful past. Lucy, Milo and Tess are no exception to these rules.

Tess, mother of the genius children, Lucy and Milo, was deeply damaged by a father who refused to show affection, concern or consideration of his intelligent, independent daughter. Thus, Tess, discontinues contact with him until he is dying and she is forced to return with her the children and her mother to the small home town she detests. Her intuitive, people smart daughter, Lucy, hopes to uncover secrets and aid in the healing of this dysfunctional family.

Many avenues lead to the road of redemption and Lucy walks them with spunk and determination. She is witty, winsome, wise, and worldly beyond her years. Working like a detective she unearths clues, dissecting the past so that the present can be salved with the help of a new-aged grandmother, a Native American friend, and a cast of unruly characters. The pages seemingly turn themselves as the reader is so engrossed in the discoveries and solutions Lucy renders.

If this is your first time with Sandra Kring you are in for a treat. May I also recommend "The Book of Bright Ideas" and "Carry Me Home." Soon you will be like me.....eagerly anticipating the next novel from this witty and wise writer.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
For some reason, when I began reading Thank You for All Things, I thought it was about the grown up Lucy returning home to care for a dying grandfather and uncovering secrets from the past (I think because of the way the summary starts - at eleven, she already knows she wants to be a psychologist. So when she grows and becomes a psychologist, she has this other stuff to face.). I didn't realize that the story was told from the point of view of an eleven year old. Would that have prevented me from picking up the book originally? Maybe. But I'm very glad I stuck with it anyways.

Lucy is not a typical eleven year old. She is incredibly precocious and very intelligent. She is intuitive and is perceptive enough to be able to read body language. This means that she is a gifted narrator; there is little frustration associated with the fact that she is young.

It's also incredibly interesting to witness the story through Lucy's eyes. If we were seeing it through Tess's eyes (the mother), her irritation with Lucy's obsession over the identity of her father would be palpable. The reader would become irritated with Lucy - whatever the story, why can't Lucy just understand that Tess is trying to protect her daughter?

Instead, the reader feels Lucy's need to learn who her father is. We see the unfolding of the history of dark secrets and family tragedies through the eyes of a curious eleven-year-old. Though Lucy can seem much older than her years, she works wonderfully as a narrator. Seeing the story through another's eyes would make it entirely different, which is why it works so well. It is an extremely interesting point of view, and Kring deserves credit for writing it convincingly.

Thank You for All Things is a story of forgiveness and understanding. It also explores the friction between a mother's need to protect her children and a child's need to know and understand. It's a great read, and I definitely recommend it.
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I was thrilled to come across this book because I had really enjoyed reading Kring's "The Book of Bright Ideas." So when I started this book I was already hooked into the story. However, less than halfway through I was waiting for the good part only to find that while the story remained interesting, there wasnt anything in particular that held my attention and I kept reading simply because I wanted the story to end. Lucy, the main character, is into psychology and able to read people pretty well. Now, this would have been fine if she had mentioned it only once or twice but every chance we get the main character needs to assert that she is a people person. Lucy's mother is annoying and although we know why she is unable to love freely, I didnt exactly feel much sympathy for her because she was holding on to so much anger. I felt that it was way too easy for us to find out what was going on in the family (Lucy reads her mother's journals) and it wasnt very creative the ways in which we found out. Maybe now just wasnt the time to reas this novel. It was boring, there were too many characters and I just didnt feel very much sympathy for the characters except for Lucy, but that alone wasnt enough.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Book Review: Thank You For All Things by Sandra Kring
Thank You For All Things

by Sandra Kring
Bantam Discovery, October 2008

Reviewed by Kathryn Magendie

Sandra Kring's third novel, "Thank You For All Things," holds within its pages themes and voices I love to read about: family, sacrifice, love, surprise, forgiveness, home, belonging, and relationships--particularly between mothers and daughters and fathers and daughters. Kring's newest novel also has themes that are painful: family violence, human death and death of a dream, and betrayal. Kring doesn't whitewash the secret dark side of family; however, she doesn't grab readers by the throat with it, screaming at them to Listen! I have a point to make here. The focus of Kring's novel more heavily relies on the characters and their quirks, their hopes, fears, and ideals, and the power of Family to shape who and what we become--whether it is to embrace, deny, or accept our pasts. With humor and love, even in the dark places, Kring doesn't exhaust the reader, but instead delights.

A "character-driven" novel must deliver and indeed Kring does a beautiful job of bringing her characters to life, especially Lucy McGowan, the eleven-year-old narrator of "Thank You For All Things." Although, despite Lucy's intellect, at times I questioned the sophistication of her language and her views of the world around her, things that life and time usually bring instead of intelligence. That said, I went along for the ride, and as good writers will do, and Kring did, I mostly accepted Lucy's voice and musings as Truth, and I owe this to Kring also allowing Lucy her child-side, that innocence that only a young girl who hasn't fully lived her life, or born all life's surprises (both good and bad), will possess.
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