Reading this book immediately brought to mind the movie, “Forest Gump” and his shrimping vessel. Although this is an old book and was an unforgettable film (Nick Nolte & Barbara Streisand), some books deserve to be read by each generation. I thank my book club so much for this - we get to read anything anybody recommends from no matter how long ago, so this was my first experience of the book. At almost 700 pages, it is quite a big read - most of it feeling as if it is related from the psychologist’s couch and by about page 400, I felt that it was a bit over-written and I began to skim parts. Nevertheless, it is a fascinating account of a big-time dysfunctional family, living on an island off South Carolina where the father earns his living on a shrimping boat. The narrator has a twin sister, who has tried to commit suicide a few times when the book starts, and an older brother, whose tragic story unfolds slowly right up to the end and keeps the reader in suspense. As small children, they suffer an unpredictably violent father and a mother whose aspirations for social climbing in their small community are so powerful that they overcome any other aspects of her character and poison her relationship with her children. Our hero constantly mentions his love-hate relationship with his mother and she was certainly directly to blame for messing up her children’s lives by asking them to ignore/bury/forget as if they hadn’t happened the terrible dramas that did occur. Most of all, this book affected me because it demonstrates how a person may be totally in love with two different people who relate to different parts or their psyche - at the same time. Inevitably, a choice must be made.