Tom Lake by Ann Patchett

I absolutely LOVED “Tom Lake” by Ann Patchett! This novel has a story within a story. Lara’s family is together on their cherry farm during the Pandemic and she is telling her three grown daughters about a summer when she was in her early 20’s and acting in a summer stock theater with a budding movie star. The writing is reflective and seems so ordinary at first, but I was pulled into “Tom Lake” and all of the characters and could not put the book down!

The play at the center of “Tom Lake” is ‘Our Town’ by Thornton Wilder. You don’t have to know the play to appreciate the novel, but I am definitely watching it to refresh my memory after reading this book! (‘Our Town’ has been described as being ‘the greatest American play ever written’ and also won the Pulitzer Prize.) I won’t give away any details of the plot because part of the pleasure of the novel is the wonderful way that Lara tells her story – it unfolds so beautifully and is interesting, happy, sad, disappointing, surprising and so realistic.

I know that “Tom Lake” will be on my list of favorite books of 2023! The first few chapters are a little confusing, but I think Patchett wrote it that way purposely and it pulls together quickly. I also love that Lara is happy with the choices that have given her the life she has now. I hope you get a chance to enjoy this novel!!!

(In case you want to watch the movie, ‘Our Town’ – it can be viewed on YouTube with Hal Holbrook as the Stage Manager and on Hoopla with Paul Newman in that role.)

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