Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Sleepy Hollow Family Almanac by Kris Dagostino

The Sleepy Hollow Family Almanac is a cynical coming of age story narrated by 24 year old quarter life crisis ridden Calvin Moretti. Realizing he lacks any real motivation to finish his degree in film studies, Calvin drops out of grad school and reluctantly returns home to his parent's crowded house. Every other member of Calvin's dysfunctional family is also living at home, including his loathsome overachieving older brother and his 17 year old pregnant sister. His father, a career pilot who has been temporarily grounded due to illness, is slipping into a deep depression while his mother is falling apart trying to keep the bills paid. Sounds fun, right? In an attempt to escape his less than ideal living situation, Calvin accepts a job as a teacher's assistant at a nursery school for autistic children and struggles to save enough money so that he can one day afford a place of his own. However this proves even harder than expected when things take an unexpected turn for the worse, forcing Calvin to choose between his own desires and the needs of his family.  

Kris D'Agostino's debut novel is an honest portrayal of the process of self-discovery many college graduates face, a theme that is sure to resonate with many of today's disillusioned younger generation. In stark contrast to many other contemporary novels centered around American families, D'Agostino flawlessly integrates difficult issues into the story without sacrificing the integrity of his characters or detracting from the edgy dialogue. 

If you enjoy this book, be sure to check out Election by Tom Perrotta and A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby.

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