Book Review: The Good Daughters – Joyce Maynard

Title: The Good Daughters
Author: Joyce Maynard
ISBN: 9780061994319
Pages: 288
Release Date: August 24, 2010
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Summary:

The Good Daughters follows the story of two girls:  Ruth, from the Plank family, and Dana from the Dickerson family.  They were born within one hour of each other, and despite the fact that they do not like one another, this strange coincidence has tied both families together through all kinds of circumstances, following them into adulthood.

Review:

Though I heard wonderful things about Joyce Maynard’s novel Labor Day, for some reason I never had the urge to pick it up and read it.  When The Good Daughters arrived, however, I knew better than to make that same mistake.  Though I wasn’t sure that the plot really appealed to me, I made it a point to get to it as soon as possible, and am so glad I did.

The Good Daughters was a beautifully written piece of fiction.  Joyce Maynard has a very literary style of writing that will appeal to many different readers.  She elevates the novel from a simple piece of contemporary fiction about two girls to something else entirely.  The novel is sweeping and emotional; the reader gets involved in the lives of these two girls, simply because of Maynard’s amazing prose.

The intertwining stories seem a little strange at first, but the reader quickly gets used to the two voices, the dual narration.  Ruth is expressive, and only wants her mother’s love and approval.  She learns at a young age that she will never receive it, but that doesn’t stop her from trying.  Meanwhile, Dana lives in contempt of her parents.  Free spirits, she envies Ruth for her roots and her solid, dependable parents.  As these two girls grow and change, the reader sees them come into their own and pursue their dreams, in spite of (or perhaps because of) the influence of their parents and surroundings.

Of course, this novel has a few twists and turns.  Some are surprising, others are not – I was able to figure out the biggest twist long before the big reveal, but it didn’t influence my enjoyment of The Good Daughters.  This isn’t a suspense novel; the reader is supposed to deduce these details from the clues the author sprinkles about the novel.  As a result, it becomes satisfying rather than disappointing.

The Good Daughters was an exceptional novel that was well-written and engaging.  Fans of all different types of genres – literary fiction, contemporary fiction, women’s fiction – will find something to love in this wonderful book.  This would also make a great book club pick, as readers will enjoy discussing Ruth and Dana and the way their lives develop.

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Comments

  1. I just loved this one, and so enjoy this author’s writing style.

    great review

  2. I just loved this one, and so enjoy this author’s writing style.

    great review

  3. I haven’t heard of this one before, but am adding it to my list! It is funny how a coincidence can tie people’s lives together!

  4. I haven’t heard of this one before, but am adding it to my list! It is funny how a coincidence can tie people’s lives together!

  5. I have read a fair bit about this book, and also think that I have figured out the main plot twist. I still want to read the book to see how it happens though. I think the book sounds great and I am looking forward to reading it. I am glad you liked it too. Great review!

  6. I have read a fair bit about this book, and also think that I have figured out the main plot twist. I still want to read the book to see how it happens though. I think the book sounds great and I am looking forward to reading it. I am glad you liked it too. Great review!

  7. Hm, this sounds interesting.

  8. Hm, this sounds interesting.

  9. I adored Labor Day, so I’m really excited about this book. I’m so glad to see you loved it!

  10. I adored Labor Day, so I’m really excited about this book. I’m so glad to see you loved it!

  11. Oh, I’m so glad you liked this one! I have both The Good Daughters and Labor Day in my TBR stack. Must get to them soon!

  12. Oh, I’m so glad you liked this one! I have both The Good Daughters and Labor Day in my TBR stack. Must get to them soon!

  13. Sounds like a must read, thanks!

  14. Sounds like a must read, thanks!

  15. I’ve never read anything by Joyce Maynard but she is one of the those authors that I see all the time and think “I really ought to read her.” This book sounds like a good place to start.

  16. I’ve never read anything by Joyce Maynard but she is one of the those authors that I see all the time and think “I really ought to read her.” This book sounds like a good place to start.

  17. I am definitely adding this to my wishlist.

  18. I am definitely adding this to my wishlist.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I would like to exchange links with your site http://www.skrishnasbooks.com
    Is this possible?

  20. Anonymous says:

    I would like to exchange links with your site http://www.skrishnasbooks.com
    Is this possible?

  21. This one is on my wish list – especially after seeing how much you (and other bloggers I respect) like it! Thanks for the review.

  22. This one is on my wish list – especially after seeing how much you (and other bloggers I respect) like it! Thanks for the review.

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