Marrying the Ketchups

Books on Tape. Apr. 2022. 11:13 hrs. ISBN 9780593551868. $95. F
Close’s (The Hopefuls) latest is set in Chicago in the fall of 2016, as the Sullivan family experiences an unforgettable turn of events. The Cubs win the World series, Trump becomes president, and Bud, the pillar of the family, passes away. Narrator Cassandra Campbell’s pleasant performance highlights the character-driven storyline and gives voice to characters in this relatable family drama. Gretchen is a singer for a ’90s cover band who begins to question her never-ending chase for fame. Jane, Gretchen’s older sister, suspects her gym-obsessed husband isn’t actually “working late.” And Teddy, the sisters’ perpetually sweet cousin who manages the family’s restaurant, is stuck seeing his ex-boyfriend daily. As their world falls apart, their family draws together. Campbell captures the characters’ flawed and sometimes unlikable personalities. But she balances the dysfunctional with the genuine, making sure listeners will root for the characters’ successes. She also takes note of Close’s slow-paced plot and proceeds accordingly. The novel includes divisive politics and talk of death and divorce, but all characters, even minor ones, are fleshed out, with distinct personalities and unique voices.
VERDICT Much like an actual family, Close’s tale is real and messy, and love it or hate it, a good addition to library collections.
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