The Turner House by Angela Flournoy
The minute I was made aware of this book's release, I knew I needed it in my hot little hands. So I found the library closest to me that was in-processing it and managed to grab the first hold spot. And then I ran out of audiobooks and knew I was getting dangerously close to the 14 day lending timeframe my library has for new books... so I ended up listening to it on audio instead. I still ended up owing the library 15 cents for it... because, I'm me.
This book hit so close to home in both scarring and healing ways. I'm a young(ish) white woman that lives in suburban Connecticut at the end of a picturesque cul-de-sac across from a lake (with a beautiful "seasonal lake view". Which really means "once the leaves are back on the trees, say buh-bye to your view!"). My husband and I are a combination of moderately successful and sufficiently frugal. The axis of these two is a comfortable life where we are provided exactly what we need and occassionally what we want.
But I didn't grow up this way. The details aren't important, but suffice it to say that I, although I might not know what it's like to grow up black in Detroit, I've felt the burden and embarrassment of not having enough.
Lelah was the character that especially made me feel things I've tried to supress for many years. She reminded me of a person in my life so much that it both brought back painful memories, but also gifted me some much-needed empathy for that person. After all this time, seeing life and herself through Lelah's eyes made me realize that as much as I thought I was hurting, she was hurting even more. The self-loathing and hope with which the character operated on a daily basis made her both human and ethereal.
I am white, I only have one sister, I grew up in New England... but this book was so relatable to me in some many ways. I am so excited to see what else Angela Flournoy has in store for us. Her writing is a gift, regardless of your age, color or station in life.
A powerful, timely debut, "The Turner House" marks a major new contribution to the story of the American family.
The Turners have lived on Yarrow Street for over fifty years. Their house has seen thirteen children grown and gone--and some returned; it has seen the arrival of grandchildren, the fall of Detroit's East Side, and the loss of a father. The house still stands despite abandoned lots, an embattled city, and the inevitable shift outward to the suburbs. But now, as ailing matriarch Viola finds herself forced to leave her home and move in with her eldest son, the family discovers that the house is worth just a tenth of its mortgage. The Turner children are called home to decide its fate and to reckon with how each of their pasts haunts--and shapes--their family's future.
Already praised by Ayana Mathis as "utterly moving" and "un-putdownable," "The Turner House" brings us a colorful, complicated brood full of love and pride, sacrifice and unlikely inheritances. It's a striking examination of the price we pay for our dreams and futures, and the ways in which our families bring us home.