We Were the Mulvaneys
We Were the Mulvaneys from author Joyce Carol Oates is my first review here at The Reading Wife! Have you read this novel? Come on in and let me tell you about it!
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I must confess that I’ve been reading We Were the Mulvaneys about once a year since I was a sophomore in high school. It is definitely a favorite of mine.
About We Were the Mulvaneys
The Mulvaneys are blessed by all that makes life sweet. But something happens on Valentine’s Day, 1976—an incident that is hushed up in the town and never spoken of in the Mulvaney home—that rends the fabric of their family life…with tragic consequences.
Years later, the youngest son attempts to piece together the fragments of the Mulvaneys’ former glory, seeking to uncover and understand the secret violation that brought about the family’s tragic downfall.
Profoundly cathartic, this extraordinary novel unfolds as if Oates, in plumbing the darkness of the human spirit, has come upon a source of light at its core.
Moving away from the dark tone of her more recent masterpieces, Joyce Carol Oates turns the tale of a family struggling to cope with its fall from grace into a deeply moving and unforgettable account of the vigor of hope and the power of love to prevail over suffering.
Thoughts on We Were the Mulvaneys
As I said earlier, I’ve been reading this book once a year for many years now. It is just that good!
We Were the Mulvaneys is all about the ideal small town family in America, the white picket fence, four great children, a happy marriage, and climbing the social ladder as a small business owner. .
Then one day it all comes crashing down around them. That idea family life many envy is shattered, and there is absolutely no going back to the way things were before that.
Back in the 1970s, rape and sexual assault were not often spoken about, and certainly not prosecuted in court. There was no justice for victims, and they often suffered in silence. There was no such thing as support groups or victims advocates.
So many times the perpetrator of the crimes are shielded by society and communities. Because no one wants to believe their child, parent, friend, or whatever would do such a thing. It is often the victim who has the courage to speak out that becomes the social pariah. They are often treated as the guilty party.
Final Thoughts on We Were the Mulvaneys
We Were the Mulvaneys is well written for the time period it is meant to represent. It was easy to follow, and I found I wanted to get to know each character even more. That is always a sign of a good book, in my opinion.
I would highly recommend We Were the Mulvaneys because it is an expertly written novel from Joyce Carol Oates. I’ve read many of her novels, and this is easily a favorite of mine. I love novels that tell taboo stories that aren’t talked about nearly enough, and this is one of those.
Have you read We Were the Mulvaneys or any other novels from author Joyce Carol Oates? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
About the Author
Joyce Carol Oates is the author of more than 70 books, including novels, short story collections, poetry volumes, plays, essays, and criticism, including the national bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys and Blonde. Among her many honors are the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction and the National Book Award.
Oates is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University, and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978.
Purchasing We Were the Mulvaneys
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More from Joyce Carol Oates
Did you enjoy this review of We Were the Mulvaneys? Need another Joyce Carol Oates book to read? Here are some of my favorites:
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