Every Happy Family
Coteau Books / 15 January 2015

Every Happy Family by Dede Crane Published by Coteau Books Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $19.95 ISBN 978-1-55050-548-1 After finishing Every Happy Family, by Victoria-based Dede Crane, I felt the warmth of being included in a family that truly loves and cares for each other, despite divergent interests and personalities. In short, I felt this family’s embrace. Crane’s novel is a realistic study of family and the complex relationships that develop between generations, between husbands and wives, and between siblings. Readers are privy to the private thoughts, fears and hopes of various members of the Wright family over a period of five dynamic years. The story is told through the perspectives of each of the Wrights. Introspective Jill is an “itinerant linguistics scholar”. Words matter to this woman. Her Sandwich Generation responsibilities involve caring for her increasingly eccentric mother (the older woman spontaneously invites two men and a woman-“we need a fourth for bridge”-to live with her), and parenting three teenaged children: studious Quinn; athletic Beau; and adopted Tibetan daughter, Pema. The familial roster also includes Jill’s husband, Les, and her artsy sister-in-law, Annie. Crane’s taken on a large cast and she’s successfully created completely individual identities for each member….