Day 14: Favorite Book of Favorite Writer
The Mulvaney family was an upper middle class (maybe lower upper class depending on your definitions) that had it all. Smart, loving parents that are known and well-respected in their upstate New York community with smart kids from whom much is expected – both as teens and in their upcoming adult lives. The family lives on a farm – the sort of property that the well-do-to can “work” without any expectation of needing it to produce anything.
We Were The Mulvaneys tracks the family in the wake of their daughter’s date-rape after her high school prom. In the aftermath of the event, this family’s mettle is tested and it’s not too long before cracks begin to appear and they – previously thinking of themselves as a great family – begin to unravel.
The story is heartbreaking and very American – an ugly truth glossed over for propriety’s sake, a lack of justice, the loss of innocence, the schadenfreude of bringing down the high & mighty and trying to get by. Each family member reacts to the events and to each other in the wake of the crime and over the following years must face a reckoning – about the event, about their family – what it is and what they thought they had – and about themselves.
I think what really does it for me though is that the story is so human and Oates’ writing so involving that it forces each of us to inhabit the life of the different Mulvaneys and gauge what our own response might be.