Forty-something Maddie Addison is returning home after an eleven-year hiatus to her family’s grand but deteriorating summer home in Sand Isle on the shores of Lake Michigan. She comes from an American industrial clan that has allowed her a sheltered childhood that turned into an adulthood of alcoholism, a failed marriage, and the death of her daughter. Maddie is now “in recovery” and comes back to Sand Isle, along with her sister and eccentric cousins, to be near her dying mother, who has been rendered mute after a significant stroke and is in her last days.
Maddie’s return results in her reconnecting with her long-avoided family. Her sister Dana is the “perfect sister” and has always stayed in close connection with the Addison clan. Then there are the cousins: Sedgie, an alcoholic actor; Derek, a gifted artist and gentle soul; and Adele, a beautiful Buddhist. Rounding out the clan are Jessica, Dana’s adopted daughter, and Beowulf, Derek’s son from a failed marriage. Tales of the past also introduce Edward (now deceased), Derek’s twin brother.
As Maddie’s mother’s health diminishes, the Addison clan spend more time together. They all have strong, unique personalities, and their interactions are often humorous and almost always poignant. The author brings the reader back in time to Maddie’s younger years, chronicling the life of her mother and the other Addisons and showing how the Addison clan is shaped into what it is today. Essentially, Maddie and her family are playing out a family drama of years past and confronting the present in a compassionate and spirited manner that is unique to being an Addison.
Good Family is a well-written novel, and Gamble does a good job creating the colorful Addison characters. That said, I was left with wanting something more from this book and became bored, at times, while reading it. However, fans of family dramas and family relationships may want to check out Good Family.