The Biographies of Ordinary People

The Biographies of Ordinary People

Book 1
Nicole Dieker
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 A Millennial-era Little Women that follows three sisters from 1989 to the present.

Library Journal Self-e Selection, with five stars from Foreword Clarion Reviews: “This first volume is deeply satisfying.” 

The Biographies of Ordinary People is the story of the Gruber family: Rosemary and Jack, and their daughters Meredith, Natalie, and Jackie. The two-volume series begins in July 1989, on Rosemary’s thirty-fifth birthday; it ends in November 2016, on Meredith’s thirty-fifth birthday.

When the Grubers move to a small Midwestern town so Jack can teach music at a local college, each family member has an idea of who they might become. Jack wants to foster intellectual curiosity in his students. Rosemary wants to be “the most important person in her own life for the length of an afternoon.” Meredith wants to model herself after the girls she’s read about in books: Betsy Ray, Pauline Fossil, Jo March. Natalie wants to figure out how she’s different from her sisters—and Jackie, the youngest, wants to sing.

Set against the past thirty years of social and cultural changes, this story of family, friendship, and artistic ambition takes us into intimately familiar experiences: putting on a play, falling out with a best friend, getting dial-up internet for the first time. Drinking sparkling wine out of a paper cup on December 31, 1999 and wondering what will happen next.

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About the author

 Nicole Dieker is a freelance writer, a senior editor at The Billfold, and a columnist at The Write Life. Her work has appeared in Boing Boing, Popular Science, Scratch, SparkLife, The Freelancer, The Toast, and numerous other publications. The Biographies of Ordinary People is her debut novel, if you don’t count the speculative fiction epic she wrote when she was in high school.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Nicole Dieker
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Published on
May 23, 2017
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Pages
345
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ISBN
9780998674315
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Coming of Age
Fiction / Family Life
Fiction / Literary
Fiction / Sagas
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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 The Gruber sisters grow up in this second volume of The Biographies of Ordinary People, navigating jobs, friendships, and relationships in a constantly changing world.

The Biographies of Ordinary People is the story of the Gruber family: Rosemary and Jack, and their daughters Meredith, Natalie, and Jackie. The two-volume series begins in July 1989, on Rosemary’s thirty-fifth birthday; it ends in November 2016, on Meredith’s thirty-fifth birthday.

The second volume follows the three Gruber sisters as they each leave their rural Midwestern hometown and try to make their way in the larger world. Meredith is determined to pursue a career in the theater. Natalie begins sorting and filing for an insurance company. Jackie… well, Jackie still wants to sing, and if the classical music world isn’t interested in what she can do, she’ll figure out how to do it on her own.

Set against the Great Recession, Presidents Obama and Trump, and a growing sense of national unrest, this final volume explores Meredith’s question: is it possible for ordinary people to make art? It also takes us into the close emotional connections between mothers and daughters, sisters and friends, and the people we choose to love as adults.

Reviews and praise:

“…a satisfying family saga about growing up and coming into one’s own.” – Foreword Clarion Reviews

“A shrewdly unique portrait of everyday America.” – Kirkus Reviews

“…the writing is precise and wonderfully descriptive.” – BlueInk Review

 The Gruber sisters grow up in this second volume of The Biographies of Ordinary People, navigating jobs, friendships, and relationships in a constantly changing world.

The Biographies of Ordinary People is the story of the Gruber family: Rosemary and Jack, and their daughters Meredith, Natalie, and Jackie. The two-volume series begins in July 1989, on Rosemary’s thirty-fifth birthday; it ends in November 2016, on Meredith’s thirty-fifth birthday.

The second volume follows the three Gruber sisters as they each leave their rural Midwestern hometown and try to make their way in the larger world. Meredith is determined to pursue a career in the theater. Natalie begins sorting and filing for an insurance company. Jackie… well, Jackie still wants to sing, and if the classical music world isn’t interested in what she can do, she’ll figure out how to do it on her own.

Set against the Great Recession, Presidents Obama and Trump, and a growing sense of national unrest, this final volume explores Meredith’s question: is it possible for ordinary people to make art? It also takes us into the close emotional connections between mothers and daughters, sisters and friends, and the people we choose to love as adults.

Reviews and praise:

“…a satisfying family saga about growing up and coming into one’s own.” – Foreword Clarion Reviews

“A shrewdly unique portrait of everyday America.” – Kirkus Reviews

“…the writing is precise and wonderfully descriptive.” – BlueInk Review

New York Times Bestseller | A Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick | A New York Times Book Review Notable Book | TIME Magazine's 100 Must-Read Books of 2019

Named one of the Best Books of the Year by NPR, The Washington Post; O: The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, Good Housekeeping, Vogue, Refinery29, and Buzzfeed

Ann Patchett, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Commonwealth, delivers her most powerful novel to date: a richly moving story that explores the indelible bond between two siblings, the house of their childhood, and a past that will not let them go. The Dutch House is the story of a paradise lost, a tour de force that digs deeply into questions of inheritance, love and forgiveness, of how we want to see ourselves and of who we really are.

At the end of the Second World War, Cyril Conroy combines luck and a single canny investment to begin an enormous real estate empire, propelling his family from poverty to enormous wealth. His first order of business is to buy the Dutch House, a lavish estate in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia. Meant as a surprise for his wife, the house sets in motion the undoing of everyone he loves.

The story is told by Cyril’s son Danny, as he and his older sister, the brilliantly acerbic and self-assured Maeve, are exiled from the house where they grew up by their stepmother. The two wealthy siblings are thrown back into the poverty their parents had escaped from and find that all they have to count on is one another. It is this unshakeable bond between them that both saves their lives and thwarts their futures.

Set over the course of five decades, The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale about two smart people who cannot overcome their past. Despite every outward sign of success, Danny and Maeve are only truly comfortable when they’re together. Throughout their lives they return to the well-worn story of what they’ve lost with humor and rage. But when at last they’re forced to confront the people who left them behind, the relationship between an indulged brother and his ever-protective sister is finally tested.

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