The fictional Tulls are, sadly, a family we all know: a single mom trying to raise three kids after her husband abandons the family. Having divorced parents myself, the Tull’s family dynamics resonate within me qualities I recognize from my family of origin. The tense moments of silence within the house punctuated by enraged voices. The children wondering what they did to cause their daddy’s absence. The parents wondering where it all went wrong.
The difference between the Tull family and most families of divorce today is communication. Today people are encouraged to talk about their feelings, whether privately as a family, or with a therapist as a referee. If Daddy leaves, family discussions help everyone deal with the trauma. In Homesick, which spans the decades from the 1930s to the 1970s, Pearl refuses to talk to her children about their father’s absence. One night her husband Beck tells Pearl he’s leaving, and she adapts by pretending he’s just away on a long business trip. This denial and secrecy exacerbate an already traumatic event, and we see the effects played out through each family member for generations. Highly recommended for book clubs or anyone with an interest in family dysfunction.