Publisher: Penguin Audio
Time: 11 hours and 30 minutes
Penguin: eBook | Paperback | Audiobook
In 1904 Fredrick and Jette leave Germany to escape the disapproval of their love by Jette's mother. Thinking they are heading for New York they are shipped on a boat to New Orleans instead. Not speaking a word of English they settle in the town of Beatrice in Missouri.
Setting for the American dream Fredrick starts his own business in town introducing all the townspeople of Beatrice in the story. The story told is that from Fredrick and Jetta but also their children and grandchildren play a part as the family goes trough their century of living in Beatrice.
In the official book synopsis there is talk about a Jazz musician and the role music plays in the life of Fredrick and Jetta. Combined with New Orleans I got this vibe that this could be a book that needed a playlist. Though the music does play an important part in the book the vibe totally missed which was disappointing.
The story is narrated by the grandson James. You can feel this very well in the build up. The closer it gets to his own life the more details are given and the more emotional it gets. The atmosphere in the story is great. Though a bit distant at times in the emotional corner it fits the story. Still there is a lot. The lives of Frerick and Jetta with their story moving into the lives of their children and their coming of age story going on to the coming of age story of James and his contemporaries. The developments are done well but it was fast and the moment I started to connect to something the story jumped to the next situation failing to really pull me in.
Same problem was with the characters. Though you stay with the family throughout the whole book you do feel a connection as if you are looking at their picture album. But the comments where often to short to really dive deep into one of the characters.
The end of the book does get interesting. The feeling something more is going on in this family lingers for a long time and the detective in me picked it up early on but I kept wondering till the end if it was going to be revealed showing for the pace of the story and they way things where dealt with.
If you love detailed coming of age story this is not the book for you. If you like a slow paced look into the life of immigrants for three generations this can be a great read.