Last fall the Iowa Center for the Book chose Jean Thompson’s The Year We Left Home as the 2013 All Iowa Reads Book, and this Saturday, June 29 ICPL will be hosting a community discussion about the book.
The Year We Left Home by Jean Thompson is a wonderful read. Thompson, who is known for her gift with short stories, has crafted a family saga that spans 30 years in the lives of members of the Erickson family of Granada, Iowa – a small town near Ames. The novel reads like a short story anthology, with each chapter focusing on different family member and jumping months or years forward in time.
We’re introduced to the Erickson’s in winter of 1973 at the wedding of Anita, the oldest of the Erickson’s three children, as seen through the eyes of her 17 year old brother Ryan. Ryan, who dreams of being anywhere but where he is right then. Ryan’s cousin Chip, who recently returned from Vietnam, makes a surprise appearance at the wedding, and he and Ryan spend the afternoon getting high and talking about life, while avoiding the wedding reception. Three years later we meet University of Iowa student Ryan, and his Writers Workshop girlfriend Janine as they head back to Grenada on their way to spring break. And so the story goes.
The world changed a lot in the last part of the 20th Century. From the end of the Vietnam War and the social conflicts of the 70s, through the 80’s Farm Crisis that hit communities like Grenada especially hard, and the explosion of the Tech industries in the 90’s. Thirty years can pass in the blink of an eye.
Join us this Saturday, June 29th, at 10:30 in Meeting Room B for a discussion of the 2013 All Iowa Reads selection.
Established in 2003, the All Iowa Reads program from the Iowa Center for the Book is designed to foster community in Iowa by encouraging people throughout the state to read and talk about the same book. For more information, go to their website.