The Family Tree by Carole Cadwalladr

About the book

When Rebecca Monroe—married to Alistair, a scientist who doesn’t believe in fate, but rather genetic disposition—discovers that she is pregnant, she begins to question what makes us who we are and whether her own precarious family history will play a role in her future. For Rebecca, the wry and observant narrator of The Family Tree, simple things said over breakfast take on greater meaning: a home-improvement project foreshadows darker things to come; the color of one’s eyes, the slope of a forehead are all missing.

Reviewed by Biscuits, Books and Banter reading group:

All agreed the book was much better than title and blurb suggested. We enjoyed the 3 strand narrative that ended up as a mystery novel. The writing was clever and entertaining and the eras described 50s, 70s and today had relevance for all members. A good discussion came from the book.

Star rating: ***

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6 thoughts on “The Family Tree by Carole Cadwalladr”

  1. Review by Goodworth Clatford WI Reading Group:
    Intelligent and well written. Seventies a big influence. Bipolar/manic depressives a big interest. An interesting family saga. Dictionary definitions were interesting chapter headings. A social history of the last fifty years.
    Star rating: ****

  2. Review by Goodworth Clatford WI Reading Group:
    Intelligent and well written. Seventies a big influence. Bipolar/manic depressives a big interest. An interesting family saga. Dictionary definitions were interesting chapter headings. A social history of the last fifty years.
    Star rating: ****

  3. Review by Bookworms Group:
    Most readers enjoyed it. Although two thought it mundane! It could be confusing as the author switched about in time from one chapter to the next. Unusual way to tell family history as a thesis for Rebecca’s PHD. The book was divided into very short sections. As you read it you became more absorbed. An easy read.
    Star rating: ***

  4. Review by Basingstoke Tuesday Afternoon Reading Group:
    Very impressive for a first novel – well written, good characterisation and evocative descriptions. Laugh out loud funny in places, alongside poignant and moving subjects. Generational story exploring nature versus nurture. A very good read – don’t be put off by the cover!
    Star rating: ****

  5. Review by Basingstoke Tuesday Afternoon Reading Group:
    Very impressive for a first novel – well written, good characterisation and evocative descriptions. Laugh out loud funny in places, alongside poignant and moving subjects. Generational story exploring nature versus nurture. A very good read – don’t be put off by the cover!
    Star rating: ****

  6. Review by Ems Valley U3A Reading Group:
    A wide divergence of opinion. Most enjoyed the black humour, and could identify with certain episodes e.g. the caravan holiday. We also liked her unusual style, especially the dictionary definitions heading each chapter, which cleverly summed up the content.
    However some felt it jumped around too much,making it confusing.
    Rating: 2 Stars

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