Thanksgiving - Ellen Cooney

This Thanksgiving, I would like to give thanks to Ellen Cooney, who wrote an amazing, profoundly beautiful story of one family sharing this meal through many generations. I found the framework of the novel especially compelling — 350 years of Thanksgivings in the Morley family. Each section has a different part of the meal as its theme, and about a decade passes between them. We are introduced to characters at birth; then watch as they grow up, marry, sometimes divorce, start their own families, and grow old. We see family traits passed down, along with the silver and the tablecloths, and we see family stories evolve as in an ever-changing game of telephone. The story of their first thanksgiving turkey is central to the family's history. We are there when the events take place, and then there again 350 years later when a very different turkey story has become the truth that everyone takes for granted.

 

The characters in this story cover such a wide range of personalities, and, towards the end, we can almost tell how they will fit in before they even walk in the door of the Morley kitchen.

 

What I found saddest was the progression of food in the novel, which accurately, but subtly, shows how we evolved from a home-grown feast to one that is almost entirely purchased in the grocery store. The descriptions, intentionally I think, are so much more earthy and natural of the food in the early days, so evocative of a lush and satisfying meal. The 2012 celebration that ends the novel practically pings with the sound of plastic and tin containers. I was glad to realize that at least the pie selection remained mostly unchanged.

 

I received this book from NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. The publisher of this ebook, Publerati, is a terrific organization that donates all of their ebooks and a portion of their sales to WorldReader, a charity promoting literacy using technology. Please go online and check out their catalog of reasonably priced ebooks – I am planning to read another one of their books, Normal Family, for the holidays.