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Those We Love Most Hardcover – September 11, 2012
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"Flawless, breathtaking, and oh-so-real, Those We Love Most is a beautifully written book about family, love, betrayal, forgiveness, and how we pick up the pieces in the wake of unthinkable tragedy. When I turned the last page, I found myself missing the characters already. I can't recommend this book highly enough. "―Harlan Coben
"Those We Love Most is a poignant, heartwarming story that follows you beyond its pages. Woodruff skillfully makes the Corrigan family real--fallible and vulnerable, ultimately strengthened by the undeniable power of love. I grieved and cheered for them all, and finished the book with a big smile on my face."―Catherine Coulter
"I opened Those We Love Most when my plan took off from Boston, and didn't look up again until I landed in Miami. In between, I cried and smiled and nodded, and turned pages faster and faster. It's one of those novels."―Ann Hood
"Lee Woodruff knows how to get to the heart of the matter on every occasion."―Alice Hoffman
"Those We Love Most is an engrossing story about family, fragility, rupture, and redemption. Woodruff's beautiful and unflinching portrayal of the grief, betrayal, guilt, tenacity, and love that engulf this family in the aftermath of a devastating tragedy will keep you turning pages till the end."―Sue Monk Kidd
Top Customer Reviews
The family seems so fractured in the beginning, beyond repair, but then you see glimmers of hope and start rooting for them to overcome their sorrow. Subtleties slowly build into complex characters, each battling their own demons but entwined in the struggles and choices of the others. What's so interesting is that for the most part they each fight their own battles in silence. There's no examining of feelings or getting things out into the open in this family; they bear their crosses in private. As one of the main characters acknowledges, "Each of us held things that weighed us down, to different degrees...No one was exempt. All of us whizzing by each other on a city street or highway, wearing our polite public masks, while the internal scars, the transgressions and the sadness of egregious loss, clung to us on the inside like trace elements."
To that end I found the book sort of depressing . While Woodruff sets us up to believe "Loss is an invitation to change, it's not the end," I couldn't help but notice that these characters didn't change, per se - they just chose to bury their feelings about loss and keep silent about their transgressions in an effort to keep everyone else happy: "Maybe silence was a price we sometimes paid for loving so completely, the price we sometimes paid to protect those we loved most."
This read like an excerpt from Ladies Home Journal. It makes Oprah seem edgy. It was an utter, complete waste of time.
The characters, hah! Is that what they are? Maura had two or three siblings, I can't even remember their names, why were they there at all? The mother Margaret is a hard, mean, unforgiving control freak and the only characters of slight interest here were her husband Roger and his mistress.
Story line, boring, pull the heart strings, is that all you've got Lee? One dimensional, predictable, flat. I finished this book yesterday and can't remember half the characters names.
A book about a child's death with out much else happening is a cheap shot and a snore.
If you want to read complex characters that aren't just like your boring neighbors, try Kent Meyers, "The River Warren", "Twisted Tree", or Annie Dillard, "The Maytrees" or ANYTHING by Joyce Carol Oates.
But with authors like Meyers, Dillard, Oates and many more,you have to actually think. Everything is not drawn out for you, they are multi-dimensional.
I have seven books on my buffet now, waiting to go back to the library and this is the ONLY one I really couldn't stand.
Maura is first and foremost a mother who loves her children unconditionally! Maura is also a woman in a marriage that seems to have derailed and sadly she loses focus on what is important. One very tragic accident brings Mauras life and the lives of her family to a screeching halt. The aftermath of the tragedy exposes the weakness of not only Maura, but her husband, mom and dad. Woodruff gets across eloquently that there is nothing like tragedy to make you see the important things in life....most importantly those that you love.
I really struggled with this review as I always like to put in a description of the actual plot, but in this case I felt to do that would be to give away too much of the story that you really must read to get the full impact. I will say this and you will certainly understand once you read the book....I would be highly interested in reading the story of Alex and how he deals witn what happened and how that shapes his adult life.
There is Maura - the mother who makes one life changing mistake. Pete - her husband whose impulsive first question "Where were you?" creates a huge unbridgeable gulf between them. Margaret - the good wife (no matter what). Roger - the not so good husband. Julia - the other woman. And Alex - the teenager looking for forgiveness.
Over the course of a year, these lives are changed dramatically. One of them in ways that even surprised the author - at least according to an interview included at the back of the book.
The story was absorbing and the characters were all too human - not always likeable but trying the best they knew how to overcome a tremendous tragedy.
Lee Woodruff has also written two non-fiction books: "In An Instant" and "Perfectly Imperfect". I highly recommend both of them in addition to this one.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
So realistically portrayed that I actually felt these characters pain. Gripping. I finished this in one afternoon. I found myself wondering if the author had lost a child.Published 8 months ago by Kristine Hellberg
This was a great read. I was invested in the characters right from the start. Realistic and down to earth.Published 18 months ago by TwinkleB13
The story was really depressing. I had a hard time getting thru all of it even though it was a good story. I didn't care for the fact that they justified the affairs.Published 18 months ago by Peggy Hague
If you have been so favored as having not experienced losses , tragedies , and profound heartaches, then you will reject this book .
But who knows what awaits.... Read more
This is an intense, beautifully-written, if somewhat depressing story—a real hidden gem. I won't rehash the plot highlights, as enough other reviewers have done that. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Sheryl Sorrentino
I would recommend this book to someone who likes to get inside the heads of the characters to see what makes them tick when they all face the same tragic event. Read morePublished on May 16, 2014 by carolann howe