This flashframe novel extends a photograph of one event in a family’s life that changes the entire family forever.
The Legare family’s routines and activities are determined by their larger than life father, Buzz Legare. A doctor, Buzz Legare has presence. On April 6, 1985 Buzz’s small fishing vessel is found drifting out to harbor, with the family dog still in the boat, hungry and baffled. Buzz Legare is declared drowned by accident.
Leaving behind Palmer, 13, Hannah, 11 and Daisy, his 36 year old wife, the family immediately grinds to a halt. Hannah thinks her father is still alive. Hannah’s life, at 36, is a shambles. Her marriage to Jon is drowning along with her memories of her father. She returns home to Daisy and her stepfather, Will DeWitt, the town’s richest resident. Hannah has just fallen there stories trying to break into her and Jon’s loft.
Palmer fares no better. His boyfriend Tom wants to have a baby. Palmer, now a vet with his own practice, can barely commit to nurturing a plant, much less a relationship or a baby.
Daisy marries Will one year after Buzz’s death. She alone accepts Buzz’s departure from this earth.
In the way of broken families, Hannah is the one who cannot cope. She is the beaconless lighthouse. In wonderful Peter Taylor-like Southern charm, Crouch’s novel proves hilarious, grim, hilarious again, and finally transcendant.
As fastidious and emotionally closed Palmer reluctantly learns to love Tom, as Hannah stops leaving all her loved ones before they can leave her, and with Daisy and Will as a solid core, the dismantled family starts finding its way back through Hannah’s craziness and determination to find the truth. The truth swims like an eel underneath the brine of the Charleston Harbor, and it with wit and clarity that Katie Crouch delivers “Men and Dogs.”
The odd, eccentric, totally Southern characters and the drama of Southern life charms the reader again and again. And Hannah, who even at 11 could tell her father how many bones are in the body (206) and how many cells (one hundred trillion) finally grows up when she faces losing it all.
Good novel, charming and heartfelt.
Book Review by Broad “A” – Ava
Thank you to the Hachette Book Group for providing this title for our book review as well as this giveaway. We were in no way paid or compensated for our opinions.
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