A review by ellemir
Family Album by Penelope Lively


Okay, a family with six children, an aloof father and a mother who seems almost obsessed with creating a facade of happy family life. Add an au-pair who never left the family, even when the children are grown up. And of course there is a dark family secret that is never mentioned, but everybody seems to know about it. Sounds interesting.
But I was disappointed by this book. The characters were stereotypical and missed depth. The constant changes of narrator and timeline made it impossible to get into the book, to identify oneself with one of the characters or even to care for one of them. The complex relationship between family members is not fully explained. A lot of questions remained without an answer.
The title of the novel was well chosen. The family is presented in snapshots of their life, it feels almost like skimming through an album of family pictures.
I liked the writing style, though. I will definately try another book by this author. Many of them got better reviews than this one.