Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg will break your heart and might even bring you to tears. The debut novel begins with an unspeakable tragedy that drives the reader’s desire to understand what exactly happened, which is slowly revealed piece by piece and character by character. Clegg weaves together the individual lives of a community grappling with loss and searching for solace. It would seem at odds with the holiday spirit to select this book as our December Book of the Month but that is precisely why it was selected. Did You Ever Have a Family is ultimately a meditation not just on loss but on healing, forgiveness and the families we create. It is a book that shows us that where there is hope there is life and that the human spirit can deeply grieve and yet survive.
About the Book
On the eve of her daughter’s wedding, June Reid’s life is completely devastated when a shocking disaster takes the lives of her daughter, her daughter’s fiancé, her ex-husband, and her boyfriend, Luke—her entire family, all gone in a moment. And June is the only survivor.
Alone and directionless, June drives across the country, away from her small Connecticut town. In her wake, a community emerges, weaving a beautiful and surprising web of connections through shared heartbreak.
From the couple running a motel on the Pacific Ocean where June eventually settles into a quiet half-life; to the wedding’s caterer whose bill has been forgotten; to Luke’s mother, the shattered outcast of the town; everyone touched by the tragedy is changed as truths about their near and far histories finally come to light.
Elegant and heartrending, and one of the most accomplished fiction debuts of the year, Did You Ever Have a Family is an absorbing, unforgettable tale that reveals humanity at its best through forgiveness and hope. At its core is a celebration of family—the ones we are born with and the ones we create.
About the Author
Bill Clegg is a literary agent in New York and the author of the bestselling memoirs Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man and Ninety Days. He has written for The New York Times, Esquire, New Yorkmagazine, The Guardian, and Harper’s Bazaar.
Beyond the Book