“Did You Ever Have a Family” by Bill Clegg

Following the lives of a whole cast of characters touched by a singular tragedy, this book is both heartbreaking and heartwarming. The night before/morning of Lolly Reid’s wedding the unthinkable happens, a gas leak causes an explosion killing the bride, groom, bride’s father, and the boyfriend of the bride’s mother. The only survivor in the family is June Reid, the mother of the bride. Who is to blame for this explosion is up for speculation, and everyone in the small town has their own theories, the favorite being June’s much younger boyfriend, Luke.

The “whodunnit” is almost a non-aspect of the story. Someone is to blame, but it doesn’t really matter, because everyone and no one is to blame.

This is a beautiful novel that explores the idea of responsibility, family, and belonging. Despite the short narrative of each character, the author was able to develop almost all of the characters into three-dimensional beings that are both flawed and relatable.

4.5/5 stars

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