Did You Ever Have A Family by Bill Clegg

did you ever have a family, Bill Clegg, Book Journey

The title drew me in… and yes, the synopsis while it worried me that it may be a little too close to home – connected with me over the fact that this book is about in the wake of tragedy… how a community can react.  ~Sheila

On the night before June’s daughters wedding an unbelievable tragedy happens that takes the lives of her daughter, her daughter’s fiance, her ex husband and her boyfriend.

Her entire family wiped out in the blink of an eye.

June, now has lost all direction and drives away from the destruction of her life… looking for meaning… looking for anything.

Left behind, is a community with connections to the tragedy, with their own version of the heartbreak of loss… connecting in ways one would never have guessed.  There is the wedding caterer who never is payed.  The couple who run the motel where June stays.  The mother to June’s boyfriend.  And so much more.

Did You Ever Have A Family was a semi dangerous undertaking for me at this time in my life.  I was pulled in by the story line – mainly the mention of how a community is effected by loss.  I understand this.  I am living it.

I enjoyed the story line very much.  Our protagonist’s June’s tragedy was very unlike mine which was good, and I found I could listen to this without worry about hitting my own personal land mines.  Her relationship’s were very different then my own and therefore was able to be what I needed it to be – a book of loss and compassion and indeed – fiction.

While I can not say I loved the story, I did appreciate it.  It is an interesting take on a tragedy that I have not read before.  In this case, I listened to the audio version with Bill Clegg (the author) narrating.  While the narration was good, I did struggle with Bill Clegg’s reading of the female parts of the book.  I caught myself often having to remind myself that this was a girl speaking, which unfortunately for me took away from the enjoyment of the overall listen.

One thing I did love is there is some beautiful writing here…

Rough as life can be… I know in my bones we are supposed to stick around and play our part.  Even if that part is coughing to death from cigarettes.  Or even if it is to be blown up young in a house with your mother watching.  Even if it is to be that mother.  Someone down the line might need to know you got through it.  Or maybe someone you wont see coming will need you.  And it might be you never know the part you played.  What it meant to someone to watch you make your way each day. 

~Bill Clegg (Did You Ever Have A Family)

This gave me pause.  So beautiful  So true.  This is a fairly short book, and one I would suggest giving a try if you enjoy a slower paced, thoughtful read that may give you pause on how we are all somehow connected.

  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 6 hours and 54 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
  • Audible.com Release Date: September 1, 2015


24 thoughts on “Did You Ever Have A Family by Bill Clegg

  1. I’m glad to hear you could appreciate this book. I’ve heard a lot of good things, and I look forward to it. You continue to inspire me with your strong actions.

    1. It’s hard to explain Vicki – but the circumstances that led to what happened are so unusual – and it is right up front in the story so by the time you hear about it you still have no connection to the characters.. you hear their stories throughout the read.

  2. I just finished reading another review on this one from someone who enjoyed it. Glad it worked for you as well Sheila.

  3. I’m planning to buy this as soon as it goes on sale tomorrow…I’ve heard such good things! And – very brave of you to give it a go despite it being very, very close to home and I’m glad it worked out ok for you.

  4. I remember reading Anna Quindlen’s novel “Every Last One” fairly soon after losing our daughter. Like you, I knew it would be a book of loss and compassion. What I didn’t know was that it would be so similar to my family’s personal experience. I couldn’t sleep one night and wound up on the couch reading Quindlen’s book. It brought me to tears (actually sobs) and literally took my breath away at one moment, but when it was over, I was glad I read it. It helped me to understand my grief and realize that what I’d been experiencing wasn’t abnormal and that I wasn’t going crazy. Sometimes these type of books are cathartic and I’m glad it helped you to read this particular book. I think I’ll give it a try. Thanks for the review. That quote is very powerful.

  5. I’m glad you could take something from the book, Sheila. On a side note, I usually have trouble with a male narrator doing female voices.

  6. I have this on my wishlist. Yes, a serious and disturbing subject, but I want to learn more about the community’s role in lifting up a person who has lost everything. Thanks for the reminder, and again I want to say I am happy you are reading books again, Sheila. God bless.

  7. I am reading this right now. I like it a lot, too. I can see why it hits close to home for you and am glad that you were able to make it through it and find some comfort.

  8. I guess I’m curious about this one since it’s received such high praise in the literary world but it seems a very sad topic and I worry about that.

  9. A terrific review. You were brave to read it. I probably would have had to pass, especially since the anniversary of Greg’s death is coming up next month. This is still a tough time of year.
    I’ve been on vacation, but am slowly catching up on blogs I missed while away.
    Hugs, my dear friend.

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