50 Book Pledge Featured Read: Commonwealth

“…because even though they didn’t have the room or the time or the money to keep him, even though she did not forgive him for disappearing for the last eight years with only the occasional postcard to let them know he wasn’t dead, the thought of his going made her want to get up and lock the door.”

– Ann Patchett, Commonwealth

Hey Savvy Readers,

If you love books that are full of family drama, touching moments, and real human emotion, do I ever have a book for you! Commonwealth, the newest book from Ann Patchett, is the perfect combination of drama, heartbreak and love. She perfectly weaves together the story of multiple families, all told at different times in their lives, so that you never feel lost or confused (which is super impressive, IMO)!

There are A LOT of characters (that you will fall in love with) in this book. Pay attention, because Patchett knows her readers are smart; she doesn’t add any filler info on who is who and how they are connected, you just have to figure it out! That being said, the connections are so fun to piece together, so you won’t want to leave your comfy chair till all is said and done.


The first line of the novel is: “The christening party took a turn when Albert Cousins arrived with gin.” Pretty ominous. Basically, the book starts with Franny’s christening party where there are tons of people over at her parents, Fix and Beverly’s, house. Everything is going great… until Bert Cousins arrives. As the attendees get more and more drunk, Bert ends up kissing Beverly (gasp)! Years later, Bert and Beverly end up married, combining Bert’s four kids with Beverley’s two. And this is where the story really takes its focus.


The theme of blended families, jealously, and love are thick throughout this book. Characters are left hurt, angry, and sad, and we see just how challenging family can be— especially when kids are thrown together as step-siblings. It’s a touching story of how people grow up, and how things change.  Reading through the characters’ lives, as some of them grow from babies to adults, and their parents age too, Patchett shows how drastically lives change.


Patchett writes with so much beautiful human emotion, which allows all of her characters to feel real. She takes this quality and spins it so that one of the characters actually writes a book about all of the characters within the story. Savvy readers, can you guess what the book within the book is called?

This twist was something I definitely was not expecting, but it really helped bring together many of the character’s lives. This sounds complex, but I’m telling you, this book will have you feeling all of the feels.

Commonwealth had me hooked from the second I started on the first page, trying to figure out the characters, the relationships between everyone, why some relationships fell apart and why others lasted. The characters are so real and so wonderfully human that I know that even though Commonwealth was my first Ann Patchett book, it most definitely won’t be the last.

Have you read Commonwealth? Tell us what you think on Twitter @SavvyReader or in the comments below.

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett is this week’s 50 Book Pledge Featured Read. Add it to your shelf today!


Follow me on Twitter @RyaMarrelli

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Canadian publishing professionals and bloggers. Looking for savvy readers to talk books with us!

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