Now, in The Year We Left Home, Thompson brings together all of her talents to deliver the career-defining novel her admirers have been waiting for: a sweeping and emotionally powerful story of a single American family during the tumultuous final decades of the twentieth century. It begins in 1973 when the Erickson family of Grenada, Iowa, gathers for the wedding of their eldest daughter, Anita. Even as they celebrate, the fault lines in the family emerge. The bride wants nothing more than to raise a family in her hometown, while her brother Ryan watches restlessly from the sidelines, planning his escape. He is joined by their cousin Chip, an unpredictable, war-damaged loner who will show Ryan both the appeal and the perils of freedom. Torrie, the Ericksons’ youngest daughter, is another rebel intent on escape, but the choices she makes will bring about a tragedy that leaves the entire family changed forever.
Stretching from the early 1970s in the Iowa farmlands to suburban Chicago to the coast of contemporary Italy—and moving through the Vietnam War’s aftermath, the farm crisis, the numerous economic boomsand busts—The Year We Left Home follows the Erickson siblings as they confront prosperity and heartbreak, setbacks and triumphs, and seek their place in a country whose only constant seems to be breathtaking change. Ambitious, richly told, and fiercely American, this is a vivid and moving meditation on our continual pursuit of happiness and an incisive exploration of the national character.
The Year We Left Home by Jean Thompson is a vibrant and, at times, humorous tale of one family’s experiences through the remaining three decades of the twentieth century. Told from multiple viewpoints, Thompson introduces the Erickson family, originating in Iowa, with each member possessing unique flaws. Engaging and heartfelt, the author creates a sense of renewal or rebirth as the Erickson siblings seek their own paths through early adulthood, but as in life, things do not always transpire in the manner in which we intend, and occasionally we are brought back to our origins. A story about family, values, success and failure, Thompson has expertly captured in her characters many common experiences seen by families maturing in this time period. Readers will delight in the way the family members ultimately reconnect, strengthening their bonds as they lend assistance in times of need, and smile while experiencing a taste of Thompson’s witty humor. While focused on a single family’s struggles, separations, revelations and redemptions, the lessons and triumphs of the Erickson’s are universal. I recommend The Year We Left Home to all readers seeking a candid look at family dynamics and the changes that families undergo across several decades.
To learn more about author Jean Thompson and her books, please visit her website: www.jeanthompsononline.com
I received a complimentary copy of The Year We Left Home by Jean Thompson from Simon & Schuster. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned novel.