The Good Daughters by Joyce Maynard

The Good Daughters by Joyce Maynard


Nine months after a stormy night in a small town in New Hampshire, 2 baby girls were born to 2 different families within 2 hours of each other, earning them the moniker of the “birthday sisters.”   Ruth was brought home to her parents’ farm, home to many generations of Planks who were deeply rooted to their many acres of New Hampshire soil.  Dana was brought home to her family, the Dickersons, a bohemian, nomadic household.   And even though the Dickersons’ wanderings soon took them away from their small town, Ruth’s mother, in particular, made a strong effort to keep the families in touch.  Who could explain that magnet that kept pulling the families together, when they felt so very different?   

There was so much in this novel but yet I felt a bit let down.  The writing was solid, as expected in a novel by Joyce Maynard.  The characters are complicated and messy (in a good way!) but yet somewhat predictable and just this side of stereotypical.  I think it is the plot that was most disappointing, for as it builds to what is likely the crescendo, we also kind of know what is likely going on.  We’ve figured it out already and are just watching it play out.  And though there are some subtle turns of events that are revealed, we’ve sort of guessed at these as well, and we take these in as expected.  I did not have a huge “aha” moment, which I crave from a book like this.  

I don’t think I’m cynical–  I love a good plot twist!  I just didn’t find any here, where I felt it needed one. 

I”d be very curious to hear what others think!  Please write and let me know…!