I don't need to cry or question humanity every time I pick up a book. While from time to time I enjoy the opportunity to question someone's motives, I don't want to be depressed whenever I'm done with a novel. Likewise, while I appreciate that not everyone has an uplifting life and that many people suffer daily hardships just to make it until bedtime, that doesn't necessarily mean that I want to spend my days reading about their suffering.
I picked up Morris' book at a library book sale in part because it was recommended by Oprah's book club and I thought it was at the least going to be a well-written book. I took it with me on an trip because I knew it was not something that I would pick off my bookshelf given all the other things I'm dying to read. And yet, I still put the book down less than 1/3 of the way through and chose not to finish it. It's just depressing. And I could handle depressing if I found the characters engaging or cared enough about their plight to unearth the outcomes in the novel. But I didn't.
The story takes place in a small town in the 1960s. The main characters lives revolve around the town drunk - his kids who suffer from embarrassment at his antics, his ex-wife who can barely make ends meet, his mother who is suffering from dementia and still thinks he is a little boy, and his sister who is trying to take care of her dying mother and alcoholic brother. Sounds uplifting, no?
Is it a well-written book?
It's not bad.
Is it a story that is worth telling?
Is it something that I want to spend my free time interacting with?
Yeah, not really.