Saturday, March 9, 2013

G38 Book Review of Family Pictures by Jane Green

Name of Book: Family Pictures

Author: Jane Green

ISBN: 978-0-312-59183-0

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Type of book: Anorexia/bulimia, mother-children relationships, perfection, betrayal, multiple marriages, 2009-2010, 2012, secrets, family

Year it was published: 2013


From the author of Another Piece of My Heart comes the gripping story of two women who live on opposite coasts but whose lives are connected in ways they never could have imagined. Both women are wives and mothers to children who are about to leave the nest for school. They're both in their forties and have husbands who travel more than either of them would like. They are both feeling an emptiness neither had expected. But when a shocking secret is exposed, their lives are blown apart. As dark truths from the past reveal themselves, will these two women be able to learn to forgive, for the sake of their children, if not for themselves?


While Maggie is best described as perfectionist and neurotic, Sylvie is very gentle and warm as well as creative. She's happy with her lot and with her family, never desiring material things. She's also very creative and well developed. The author seems to favor her far more than Maggie. We get Maggie's story, but she's not as likable as Sylvie is, sadly enough. I wish that she would have explored more of Eve's and Grace's and others' personalities instead of being cursory, I also wish that Mark would have been explored even more.


Sometimes delights emerge from tragedies.


Sylvie and Eve are written in third person narrative narrating about their feelings about life and Sylvie reminiscing about Mark and Eve's real father Jonathan and how happy she was with marriage. Eve narrated her obsession with food, which began even earlier than the betrayal, while Maggie, Buck and Grace are written in first person narrative and they barely dip into the history and instead focus more on the present and the post tragedy. The beginning of the book is good and enjoyable, but after the big reveal I feel that the writing quickly goes down hill and I would have liked to be with the characters through agonies instead of the neat epilogue.

Author Information:
in London, The United Kingdom May 31, 1968



twitter username

Literature & Fiction

About the author
Jane Green (born in 1968 in London, England) is an U.S.-based British author. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, four children under the age of 5 - including a set of twins - and dog Palmer. She attended the University of Wales, Aberystwyth from 1987-88, although she left without completing her degree and worked as a journalist throughout her twenties. At the age of 27 she was inspired to write a book about a woman being single in the city. This paid off and she published her first book, Straight Talking three months later.

Jane's Facebook page:

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.


I was surprised to have enjoyed it. The book is well-written, and well-plotted, although I thought that the middle and the end, past the big reveal suffer slightly. I was also surprised to learn that the author happens to be one of my younger sister's favorite ones. There are some things that I was confused by such as why Maggie has first person narrative yet she begins towards the middle, while Sylvie has third person narrative and she's in beginning. I thought it would be similar to Emily Giffin's Heart of the Matter where each chapter is from different point of view, but Maggie and Sylvie tend to alternate every few chapters along with some chapters from Evie, Grace and two from Buck. I'm curious as to why these characters got their own chapters. Also, just like in Heart of the Matter, Mark is not explained well and some things he says absolutely don't make sense to me. Yet this is much better written than Heart of the Matter. The twist surprised me, but I felt everything was tied up too quickly and certain things, like Clothilde's and Sylvie's relationship is not explored.

Quick notes: I won this book on thus this review will appear in its entirety on goodreads as well as the blog

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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