Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty is a very character-driven book. I heard it described as a dysfunctional family novel, which is why I wanted to read it, and while the characters are certainly dysfunctional, I don’t know if this book qualifies for that “genre.” To me dysfunctional family stories usually have secrets and lies but also confrontation and drama. There are secrets in this book, but almost no action. I was very disappointed.
Fern and Edgar are happily married in 1976. They’re living an extravigant life paid for with her parent’s money. Edgar has chosen not to take over his father’s steel business because he abhors money – kind of ironic considering how they’re living. He’s spent the last 10 years working on a novel, which is finally about to be published. Fern has been busy mothering their three children, Cricket (age 9) and the twins, James and Will (age 6). Then suddenly the money is gone. Fern’s parents estate is finally processed after their deaths some months earlier. Fern and Edgar both respond in the worst way and run away from their lives…separately.
About 90% of this book was backstory, and while some aspects were interesting, ultimately, I was left wondering when something was going to happen. Spoiler: Nothing much ever really does. I enjoyed the portions that focused on the children the most. Left home alone, Cricket is rather resourceful. I felt for the three of them. They were completely innocent in this situation. Fern and Edgar on the other hand were annoying and spoiled. This book is a snapshot of the lives of the American elite, but that wasn’t enough to hold my attention.
Rating: 2 Stars