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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 21 January 2010
A tender, lovely book, about Bernard & Bernardette Doyle who, after the birth of their son Sullivan are unable to have more children and decide to adopt. Teddy, an African-American infant is therefore welcomed into their family with open arms and soon after his older brother Tip joins the family too, much to their delight. Everything seems to be perfect until Bernardette dies prematurely.

Bernard finds himself to raise the three boys alone. He is very protective and has plans for them, however between his politically-oriented job and raising the family by himself, as the kids grow up some strain starts to develop between them. Sullivan, much older than Tip & Teddy, moves out very quickly and resurfaces only every now & then.

One snowy night, a stranger passing by with her daughter saves Tip from an accident, but she ends up badly injured. The Doyle's lives shall change forever after the accident.

My first book by Ann Patchett but I shall read more. The prose flows beautifully, despite the intricate backs & forths from past to present, from character to character. This shifting however is uncomplicated and it adds an interesting touch to the narrative style.
I gave it 4 stars (instead of 5) only because, despite my liking it a lot, I found some situations a bit far-fetched, and some of the characters with a goody-goody quality that I found a bit unreal given the circumstances.
All in all however, I would say that this book is quite a page-turner and I would certainly recommend it.
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on 4 April 2017
Avery good read that develops momentum and envelopes the reader in its web of interesting relationship. Thoroughly worth while. Recommend this book
Sue Harries
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Run is one of the most satisfying family novels I've read in some time. I was very impressed by the many ways that Ann Patchett gently portrayed love among family members within a smooth, comfortable story-telling flow. At another level, the book provides a subtle allegory for the ways that God's love is portrayed in the New Testament. The writing shines with a caring outlook for everyone that provided me with much joy, even among the sadness that will be any reader's natural reaction to parts of the book.

What is a family? Most people define that as a mother and father and some kids. Those from cultures where extended families are more important will include grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Ann Patchett clearly feels that wherever the family feeling is present there is a family. The book will give you much room for thought on that point.

Bernard Doyle and his sons aren't typical in some ways of most nuclear families, but in other ways they are. Sullivan is Bernard's oldest son, the surviving memory of his great love for his deceased wife, Bernadette. Wanting a larger family than God gave them biologically, Bernard and Bernadette sought to adopt. Because they didn't specify sex or race, a beautiful African-American baby boy, Teddy, joined the family. In an unexpected surprise, Teddy's mother asked if the Doyles would like to also adopt Teddy's brother, Tip. They did and the family was blessed with one more son.

Bernard had three loves, his political career in Boston (which led him to become mayor), his wife, and his boys. But due to Bernadette's death, his loves fell to two areas . . . and then to one as his political career evaporated. But he still wanted political success for his sons, much like Joe Kennedy once plotted for Joe Jr., Jack, Bobby, and Teddy.

But like all sons, the three boys developed loves of their own, none of which included politics. As the book opens, that tug of war is illustrated by a missing Sullivan, Tip reluctantly leaving his fish specimens at Harvard, and Teddy absent-mindedly leaving his priest uncle's side to join their father at a talk by Jesse Jackson at Harvard.

You can see their future spread out ahead of them . . . as they will inevitably grow further apart. But fate steps in, and none of them will ever be the same.

I felt like Run is one of the best new novels of 2007, and I definitely encourage you to read and enjoy it. I couldn't put the book down and didn't finish it until 1:27 last night. The character development is wonderfully done, even for the characters on which the story pays less attention like brother Sullivan and Father Sullivan. You'll feel like you know and like these people. What could be nicer?

After you read the book, ask yourself where and what you would be willing to sacrifice for those you love.
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on 29 August 2008
Run is a story of a family, like many families today, it is inclusive and self-defined, rather than biological. Patchett clear-eyed examination of love, loss, jealousy, religion, expectations, guilt, and compromise is a complete joy.

All the characters are fully formed,complex, real characters, struggling with their lives and getting it part right and part wrong and you love them all the more for their foibles and mistakes.

The narrative flows beautifully and the writing is fantastic. Although this is a book that deals with this loss, it is an uplifting book, because it is about a family that finds a way of loving each other with out destroying each other, through the catalyst of a young girl called Kenya.
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on 28 September 2007
When this novel begins with the story of a statue that has been in Bernadette's family for several generations, we can already predict that this book is a winner. We can already see that Patchett's narration is flawless and has a rhythm that keeps us mesmerized until the tale is complete. In a sense, reading about the statue, I felt like a five-year old listening to a bedtime story read by grandma. And then the "real" story begins, and luckily we see our expectations completely fulfilled.

Years ago, Bernadette and Bernard Doyle had a son and wanted to surround him with siblings; but they were having trouble to conceive. Thus, they decided to adopt a baby. But fate had determined that they got two babies instead, a newly born and his thirteen-month-old brother, who the Doyle's named Teddy and Tip respectively. This event brought bliss to the family and this status quo remained the same until four years later, when the men were left all alone, to fend off by themselves.

Nowadays, Tip is fully committed to being an ichthyologist and cannot stay away from his fish, and Teddy is following his uncle's example and exploring faith and religion. This is not what former mayor Doyle had in mind for his sons, since he has always hoped to see them succeed in politics. Now Doyle is trying to take advantage of his last chance to exert parental pressure and is dragging his sons to a Jesse Jackson speech. As they come out of the venue after the speech, Tip and Bernard get in an argument in the middle of a snow storm, an event that will change their lives forever.

Have you ever noticed that when you go against your parent's advice something usually goes wrong? Even if it is not directly related to the matter at hand. This case is no different, and Tip is almost run over by a car, only to be saved by a woman who pushes him out of the way and takes the hit instead. And this is the catalyst of a series of events that will shake every belief the brothers had and that will change their lives forever.

There are many aspects to praise in Patchett's writing, but I think that the most important one is how well she works at character development. By the end of this novel you will feel like you know the motivations, dreams and fears of each and every one of the characters involved in the story. Also, the way in which the author shares the character's thoughts is unusual and refreshing. In most books the character's thoughts are directly related to the situation at hand, but if you think about it, this is not how reality works. How many times do you find your mind wandering and you start thinking about events unrelated to what you are going through at the time? This is what the author allows her characters to do, which gives them an added dimension and makes them more real to the reader.

This is a novel that has an enthralling plot, involving many secrets that Patchett reveals in layers, as if she was peeling an onion. But on top of that, the writing is so inspiring, that even when we figured out one of these secrets, we will get goosebumps when the truth is finally revealed in the beautiful prose. This is the first novel I have read by this author, but I have made the firm commitment to go back and visit her previous works. Her ability with the pen has to be present in those other novels too. I recommend this book without reservations!
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"His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling; like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead." James Joyce 'The Dead'

Ann Patchett has written her sixth book in the framework of a family and how the end justify the means. Each character is a study in love and the affection they have for each other. The gifts that are given by these people to each other is overflowing with meaning.

Doyle, an ex-mayor of Boston had given up his office, voluntarily, but in the realm of disgrace. His profession in politics was his love, and he had hoped that one of his sons would follow in his footsteps. On this cold winter's night he brings his two younger sons, Tip and Teddy to hear Jesse Jackson. Doyle's hope was that Jesse would put the 'fire' of politics in one of his sons. Tip and Teddy had been adopted as infants. Doyle and his wife, Bernadette had one son, Sullivan, and wanted more, and when the chance to adopt a black baby came they grabbed it. They then found his brother, 14 months old was also available, and their family became complete, or almost. Within a short period of time, Bernadette, the love of Doyle's life, became ill with cancer and subsequently died. Doyle was left to bring up the boys on his own.

On this night, Tip who goes to Harvard and is studying Ichthyology finally becomes tired of Doyle pushing his political preference in his face, and he starts an arguement with Doyle. It becomes more heated than either wanted, and Tip turns to go and walks in front of an on-coming car.
He is saved by a black woman who pushes him out of the way. She is injured and rushed to the hospital. Not knowing the extent of her injuries as of yet, Doyle volunteers to care for the woman's young daughter. A full family at best. Now the issues of the past come to haunt the entire family, and some answers must be found. Tip and Teddy must come to terms with their past. And, Doyle must answer to his children.

The life we lead is sometimes not what we think it is. The past may come to haunt us and decisions made for us and before us may not be what we want. Ann Patchett has the ability of taking a simple plot and making it into something it is not. The family and its center is the important aspect of her writing. This book was simplistic in plot, and the message was easy to grasp. It is a good novel, not one of her best, but enjoyable. After 'Bel Canto' the expectations were very high. There is something missing here and the plot though well devised is not as satisfying. But Ann Patchett's writing makes up for any deficit in plot- she is glorious in her use of the written word. Much to be admired.

Recommended. prisrob 05-27-13
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Liz and Sarabeth have been friends since childhood. Liz’s easy-going, laid back family is the perfect antidote to Sarabath’s painful and awkward home life; her parents are withdrawn, her mother suffers from depression and Sarahbeth often feels motherless. Now into adulthood they are still the best of friends; Liz is married to Brody and has two children, Lauren and Joe, but Sarahbeth stumbles from one love affair to the next, confiding in Liz, needing her comfort and support.

Suddenly, without warning, Liz’s family is thrown into turmoil. The once strong friendship is put under tremendous pressure – will it survive? Will it ever be as it was before?

Essentially a story of friendship, and whether or not it can survive catastrophic events, this is very much a character driven novel. I enjoyed Anne Packer’s first novel “The Dive From Clausen’s Pier” so much that I bought this book with high expectations, but I actually feel a little let down by it. The writing style is strange at times with really odd sentence structure that often left me feeling quite confused. I found the characters of Liz and Sarabeth irritating and I wanted to shake them both out of their apathy. Lauren’s teenage angst and confusion, though, is spot on, whilst her younger brother Joe seems superfluous as he hardly figures in the narrative. This is a slow, somewhat depressing, read and I very nearly gave up, however my own obstinacy forced me to the end, which was more a fizzle than a bang.

I would suggest that if you are new to Ann Packer read “The Dive From Clausen’s Pier” and give this a miss.
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This is a superbly crafted novel of family life. Doyle and Bernadette have an eleven-year old son but Bernadette is desperate for more children. They adopt black brothers, Tip and Teddy. When Bernadette dies a few years later Doyle is left with both his grief and the responsibility of bringing up the boys.

Each boy seems to have gone is differing directions. Sullivan has had a troubled adolescence and is working in Africa in aid programmes. Tip is quiet and studious and is obsessed with ichthyology (the study of fish specimens) and Teddy is sociable and lively but has become increasingly interested in joining the Catholic priesthood.

Coming out of a Jesse Jackson meeting Tip is involved in a road accident. From that incident a whole series of revelations occur. Tip and Teddy are suddenly made aware of their own family background - and in particular a new sibling.

This is a warm, funny, humane book about the power of love and loyalty within families. It is a much lighter read than Bel Canto or State of Wonder - in fact at times it was more like an Anne Tyler book. A few things did not ring true me - for instance Teddy seems to have no social life or friends outside the family which is very unusual for a popular 20 year old.

Highly enjoyable.
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VINE VOICEon 16 July 2008
Ann Patchett has written a beautiful book.
I loved the way the reader suddenly finds that his preconceptions are jolted and a new reality takes their place.

Having had one child, Sullivan, Bernard Doyle and his wife Bernadette find themselves unable to have more. They decide to adopt, taking into their family an African American baby, Teddy, ten years younger than Sullivan. They can't believe their luck when Teddy's one-year-old brother, Tip, is also offered to them. Life is perfect - until the tragic loss of Bernadette throws out their comfortable existence.
The loss affects the boys differently and Sullivan is the hardest hit. His life loses its direction and he eventually goes to live in Africa.
The younger boys compensate by doing everything they can to please their father, right up to their college days.
When a passing stranger saves Tip from walking in front of a car, she and her thirteen-year-old daughter suddenly become part of their lives.
Nothing will ever be the same again.

My only hesitation with this book was the ending which I found abrupt and frustrating. So many questions that could not be answered and sudden changes in direction that I did not feel warranted.
In spite of this I gave it 5 stars as I unjoyed every page until I reached the last chapter.
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The story is about the Doyle family of Boston - former mayor Bernard and his wife had one biological son and adopted two black sons named Tip and Teddy before her untimely death. Now, twenty years later, the eldest boy is an aimless disappointment while the younger sons are successful college students with very different personalities. On a fateful night, Tip is nearly run over by a car but is pushed to safety by a stranger who will come to impact their lives forever.

The first chapter told an interesting history of a beautiful religious statue that had been in the family for generations. The rest of the book, however, was completely different in tone. Almost all of it is about the night of the Tip's brush with death, told in such excruciating detail that it was hard for me to stick with the book. There is very little action and most dialog is followed by one or more paragraphs in which the speaker mulls over his words ad nauseum. This writing style got old fast for me. I grew impatient for something to happen and tried to skim the book, only to find that important details were tucked into the most boring private reflections.

The basic plot is a good one and would have been very successful as a short story, but for me, the novel is way too draw-out and dull.
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