Roost by Ali Bryan is the One Book Nova Scotia selection for this year.
Roost tells us a story about chaotic daily life of Claudia, a single mother of two children, Wes, four years old, and Joan, two. The novel starts with a sixtieth birthday party for Claudia’s mother. From the first pages we are introduced to Claudia’s father, along with Claudia’s brother Dan and his wife, Allison-Jean. For her birthday their mother gets a “teapot adorned with the characters from the Wizard of Oz” from Claudia and a trip to Cuba from Dan and Allison-Jean. And, then Claudia receives the unexpected news that her mother has died.
We follow the story through Claudia’s eyes, feelings, and great sense of humour. She is learning about motherhood and trying to gain control of her life while working, sharing kids with her ex-husband, dealing with her brother, and grieving the loss of her mother. Claudia’s sense of humour helps her cope with the tears and surprises that life brings.
I like how my friend described the novel - “grief wrapped in beautiful humour”. The death of Claudia’s mother had a significant impact on everyone in the family. Ali Bryan shows us different perspectives on grief process from children and adults to daughters and sons.
I think that the author realistically portrays three women – Claudia, Allison-Jean and Janice – and their experiences of motherhood.
I was able to relate to Claudia, she felt real to me. I loved her messy and chaotic “roost”. I laughed and empathized. Many of my friends are or were in the same situation: caring for their small children and their aging parents.
Roost is a quick read with short chapters that embraces a bumpy, complicated, and beautiful life.
Here are a few novels similar to Roost suggested by Novelist:
Tapestry of Fortunes by Elizabeth Berg
Not My Daughter by Barbara Delinsky
The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood
50 Harbor Street by Debbie Macomber
Return to Sender by Fern Michaels
One Day at a Time by Danielle Steel
Follow the Stars Home by Luanne Rice
Scarlet Feather by Maeve Binchy
The Beach House by Jane Green