A Prayer of Thanks (Thoughts on “Did you Ever Have a Family” by Bill Clegg)

Roadtripping - View from a filling station (South Africa, 2015)

Roadtripping – View from a filling station (South Africa, 2015)

“Pru asked if she was okay, and June answered with a question that seemed to Pru more of a comment on June’s struggle’s with Lolly: Did you ever have a family? Pru said she sounded completely wiped out, at wit’s end. She asked June if she wanted to  walk back with her to the house, but she politely declined, saying she needed to be alone a while longer.
Pru told us that night that she’d never felt so grateful. That her answer to June’s question had been yes,  but not as a commiseration, or an explanation of fatigue, as it seemed to be for June, but both as an acknowledgment of great fortune and a prayer of thanks. With Mike on the line from Tacoma, and Mimi and I huddled over her iPhone on speaker in the kitchen Pru whispered to us, Thank you. (Did you Ever Have a Family, Bill Clegg)

I am not a brave reader. It is rare for me to read books that are sad, that have devastating plots, that leave me imprinted with the sorrow of other people. It is rare for me to read books that make my hands clench and muscles tense because I can’t handle my anxiety over what the characters are going through. Over the past few days however, I read and completed “Did you ever have a family?” by Bill Clegg and I absolutely loved it. The book is Clegg’s first novel and was longlisted for the 2015 Man Booker Prize. It is unlike anything I’ve ever read before, and I’m so glad I stumbled upon it.

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