Nostalgic, retro, and untraditional are all words I would attribute to The People We Keep by Allison Larkin. Not only does the main character, April Sawicki, highlight society’s prejudices and biases, her life showcases the important things. Intimate relationships are the broad scopes of April’s brush. It’s the shared jokes and strength we find in each other, it’s the home we build where you expect to see their face, it’s the comfort they provide like air into our lungs, it’s a family with ties stronger than blood, that is April’s life.
As beautiful as the writing and story of April’s life was, the pacing in this book drove me insane at times. Happiness isn’t slow. But the periods of rest and bliss for April go on for about a hundred pages on average and then there’s all this movement and change condensed into about twenty. It’s as though we constantly reach the end of the book from start to finish.
With all that being said, The People We Keep might be the perfect read for the holidays, especially if your nuclear family is a bit of a let down. Escape into April’s family of choice.
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