The Arrivals

arrivals_mooreMy favorite television series right now is “Parenthood.” Every week I am swept into the lives of the Bravermans, a loving, mostly functional family whose four adult siblings navigate the bumps, disappointments and joys of life. It’s well written and well acted (Peter Krause is my current favorite–he is so effortless and from his expressions to his delivery of lines catches the nuances of his character–although the two teenage girls are also fantastic).

So I picked up Meg Mitchell Moore’s debut novel, The Arrivals, because its description made me think I would find some of the same characters and situations that I enjoy in my weekly fix of “Parenthood”–in this case three adult siblings who find themselves back in their parent’s Vermont home.

Ginny and William Owens are preparing for a quiet June weekend with maybe a dinner out with friends when their eldest daughter, Lillian, arrives unannounced with her 3-year-old daughter and newborn son. What they don’t know at first is that Lillian is not there for a short stay at all. Then their son, Stephen, and his career-focused, pregnant wife Jane show up for a short visit and then their youngest daughter, Rachel, arrives nursing a broken heart. This empty nest becomes almost too full and we watch as the Owens struggle through their own personal battles as the summer unfolds.

Moore has a knack for uncovering the enduring challenges of parenting but also the 21st century expectations placed on parents and that parents of today place on themselves–and the judgment that Stephen may face as a stay-at-home-dad. The most poignant moment for me was when Ginny asks her husband how she should feel about seeing her children all in forms of crisis; she calls her children her “life’s work” and questions herself in the face of her children’s adult problems. Moore explores how both parents and their adult children navigate the paths to understanding, the ebb and flow of taking hold and letting go.

The Arrivals may not have the same kind of splashy drama and charged moments that I have come to love in “Parenthood,” but it does deliver a similar kind of satisfaction–the voyeuristic pleasure of viewing one family up close.

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About the Author:

Misha Stone is a readers' advisory librarian with The Seattle Public Library. Follow her on Twitter at @ahsimlibrarian.

2 Comments on "The Arrivals"

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  1. deepmuckbigrake@yahoo.com' Becky says:

    I love this. I’m a Parenthood fan, too. Just when I get so frustrated I don’t think I can stand it anymore, one of them comes through and does something brilliant.

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