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A Cloud in the Shape of a Girl

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A Cloud in the Shape of a Girl

November 2018

A CLOUD IN THE SHAPE OF A GIRL by Jean Thompson follows three generations of women in the Wise family --- Evelyn, Laura and Grace --- who live in a small Midwestern college town. They navigate their lives trailing emotional baggage from generation to generation. I love how the story unwrapped and their messy imperfect lives slid together. There are choices made and not made --- and each has consequences.

When the story opens, Evelyn, the oldest Wise woman, is dying. Laura, her daughter, is in her 50s and is taking care of her. As she does this, she measures her life against her mom’s and sees how much is left wanting. And Grace, the youngest Wise woman, already is an adult, following this same path. None of these women seem to have a feeling of satisfaction; there is so much longing for another life and moments lost. They all appear to be waiting for something, which rarely comes. There are snippets of joy, but they never feel sustainable. As a reader, I was completely wrapped up in their stories from the first chapter, which is largely due to Thompson’s brilliant prose.

When I wrote on social media that I was reading this book, two friends chimed in that they loved Thompson’s collection of short stories, WHO DO YOU LOVE. I love how they were so well-versed on this author, who was new to me. For the record, this is not the easiest title to remember, so you may want to ask for the latest Jean Thompson book when you want to read it.

For book groups, this would make for a great discussion. There is a lot here to chew on.

A Cloud in the Shape of a Girl
by Jean Thompson

  • Publication Date: October 23, 2018
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • ISBN-10: 1501194364
  • ISBN-13: 9781501194368