• The Bossy Bookworm

Review of The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

Updated: Aug 7, 2020

Danny and Maeve are ejected from their fabled childhood home, and they spend the rest of the book hashing out their bitterness and unsettled feelings.

Danny and Maeve are ejected from their fabled childhood home by their stepmother after their father's death, and they spend the rest of the book experiencing and communicating various levels of bitterness and unsettled feelings that they trace back to this fact.


I just could not get anywhere near invested or interested in this story of years of unhappiness, relentless rehashing and obsession with the past, tedious details of daily life, lazy decision-making (as with Danny's marriage to Celeste), and petty monetary revenge—to the extent that one character earns and receives a medical degree out of spite and to use up money so others don’t get it.


The end 10% or so allowed for some character development and brief emotional complexity not present earlier in the book.


I listened to the wonderful Tom Hanks narrate the audiobook.

What did you think?

I love me some Ann Patchett, but this book was not for me. I think it's fair to say my book club was somewhat split on this one, although most members seemed to think more highly of it than I did. My expectations for Patchett are pretty sky-high, and I wanted more here.


#dysfunctionalfamily, #twostarbookreview