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Review: Every Last Cuckoo

July 5, 2009

Every Last Cuckoo

Charles and Sarah are an older married couple who’ve raised three children.   Like most marriages, theirs has had its ups and downs, but they’ve settled into a happy, comfortable routine.  Their three children are grown and successful, but Charles struggles with his relationship with their son David and Sarah and their daughter Charlotte have their differences.  Their other son, Tom brings home a lovely young woman and life seems good.

When Charles passes away unexpectedly, Sarah finds herself at loose ends.  Things that she deemed so important at one time (a clean house, great meals, etc) no longer interest her.  There’s a small cabin on Sarah’s property and when a friend asks her to allow her cousin to live in it and write, Sarah reluctantly agrees.  Sarah’s daughter, Charlotte, and granddaughter, Lottie, are having trouble getting along so Sarah permits Lottie to move in with her.

Lottie persuades Sarah to allow several of her friends to move in and from there, things mushroom, and Sarah finds herself providing a safe haven for “every last cuckoo.”

The beginning of Every Last Cuckoo, by Kate Maloy, is told in a non-linear fashion so it took me a while to discover where the story was going.   The family dynamics were very believable because they’re so well written.  I felt like the ups and downs in Charles and Sarah’s marriage were so realistic too.   Even though I’m not as old as Sarah, I could relate to her and was so glad when she discovered the wisdom she had inside.  I enjoyed this well written book, but found the middle to be a little be too philosophical for me and the ending a little bit long and predictable.

Review copy provided by Algonquin Books.

34 Comments leave one →
  1. July 5, 2009 6:46 am

    this type of book seems to be popular of late. The later in life, life upheaval, family relations kind of story is one I’ve read a lot of reviews for.

    We’re reading the same book at the moment, btw, Home Repair. How are you liking it?

  2. July 5, 2009 8:05 am

    I actually enjoyed this book a lot more than you did. I thought it really made me think — in a good way. Can’t wait to hear what everyone else thought!

  3. July 5, 2009 8:29 am

    I LOVED this story so much when I read it in 2008 I believe. The cover was gorgeous too.

  4. July 5, 2009 8:43 am

    I think I’d like to read about how an older woman (maybe my age) gets in touch with her inner wisdom. I have a feeling I’ll need the reference some day – when I actually get old.

  5. July 5, 2009 8:58 am

    The more I read your review, the more I wanted to read it. It sounds like a really good book.

  6. July 5, 2009 9:09 am

    I totally have to get this for my stepmother. She is actually changing around the house to get ready for her and all of us girls when we are in that situation. (My father has been dead for quite a while, so she’s has time to recover and plan it all out.) And what a perfect title for all of us it would be: “Every Last Cuckoo”!!! Thanks for the review!

  7. July 5, 2009 9:21 am

    This actually seems like a book I would really like to read. I love the title.

  8. July 5, 2009 9:31 am

    I like the colorful dishes on the cover.

  9. July 5, 2009 10:04 am

    What a great cover! It’s actually completely different from the kind of cover I’m normally drawn too, but I really like the colours and the cosy homelike feel of it all. The book sounds like one I’d enjoy too, despite being unlike my usual reading choices.

  10. July 5, 2009 11:29 am

    I too seem to have liked this much more than you. I have a zillion flags sticking out of the book with passages to discuss with friends and family and book club!

  11. stacybuckeye permalink
    July 5, 2009 12:18 pm

    I agree that the colors on the cover draw me to the book. From your review it sounds as though I may be disppointed. I’ll have to think about it.

  12. July 5, 2009 12:23 pm

    I love the cover of this book and plan to read it someday…it’s on my wishlist. It sounds like a great book to discuss with a book club.

    • Buttercup permalink
      July 5, 2009 2:18 pm

      This looks great. I’ll be on the lookout for it. Thanks!

  13. July 5, 2009 3:52 pm

    I think I might have enjoyed reading this at a different time. I enjoyed it a bit, but did have a few issues with it.

  14. July 5, 2009 5:13 pm

    Another one that looks good. I liked your honest review. I’ll have to think about this one.

  15. July 5, 2009 6:26 pm

    The premise sounds really good and I’m sure that at some time I’ll pick it up to read. Thanks for your insightful review!!!

  16. July 5, 2009 6:43 pm

    I really like the title of this one. Books like this do seem to be popping up more and more, don’t they? This one sounds like a good one. I’ll have to look for it. Thanks for the great review, Kathy.

  17. July 5, 2009 7:59 pm

    Thanks for the review Kathy…I love books that make the family dynamics realistic.

  18. July 5, 2009 8:38 pm

    I added this to my wish list simply based on the cover art! Not sure when I’ll get to it, though.

  19. July 5, 2009 9:19 pm

    Excellent review – I got a good sense of a book that I might have overlooked because of the used-so-often theme. (And yes, Carrie, I’d be very, very drawn by the cover art, too!)

  20. July 6, 2009 12:04 am

    This sounds like something I’d end up doing. I’ll have to read it!

  21. July 6, 2009 12:59 am

    Good review!
    I’ve been on the fence about reading this one, and I still am, but a little less. I think I could enjoy it! 🙂 I’ll try to borrow it and see if I can get into the first few pages!

  22. July 6, 2009 9:08 am

    I love the cover of this book. Thanks for the great review — I hadn’t heard of this one.

  23. July 6, 2009 2:16 pm

    Well, I guess I’m not tired of this sort of story yet because I loved the book! I’m sorry I didn’t get to discuss it yesterday with everyone.

  24. Carol permalink
    July 6, 2009 3:45 pm

    Sounds like one I’ll have to pass on, but I do love the cover.

  25. July 6, 2009 6:56 pm

    I think I would be interested in giving this book a try. I guess it’s not for everyone but right now I may appreciate a book about someone filling her empty nest with a line-up of cuckoo’s. 😀

  26. July 6, 2009 8:33 pm

    I’ve been wanting to read this one – I’ve got it on my tbr pile, and it does sound interesting. I like your comments and insights. ~ Wendi

  27. July 6, 2009 9:02 pm

    I had really wanted to read this one but don’t know if I’d jump at it now. I may someday still read it but I’m not in a hurry.

  28. July 7, 2009 1:12 pm

    Sounds like an interesting book, and I just love the cover. Still not sure if I’ll read it, though. I’ve read too many books lately with predictable plots. Thanks for the honest review.


  29. July 7, 2009 5:41 pm

    I loved the way this book was written, and the metaphor of “every last cuckoo” was beautifully rendered.

    Maybe you just weren’t “in the mood” for the heavier/deeper themes; I find that whatever is going on in my life affects what I get out of a book.

  30. July 7, 2009 6:29 pm

    I love the cover of this book!

  31. July 8, 2009 1:37 pm

    I was right up there with you until you said it got too philosophical. I have to be in the right mood for that kind of book.

  32. July 10, 2009 10:29 am

    I still might give this a try at some point. I like philosophical books, but I have to be in the mood for them.

  33. July 10, 2009 8:33 pm

    But I really really love the cover!

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