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The End of the Point I really enjoyed this book It s a family saga that focuses on a few members of a large extended family and moves back and forth in time a bit I guess some people aren t comfortable with that, but for me, it provides a richness that manyplot driven novels don t Watching characters grow from childhood to adulthood and into grandparenthood and beyond got me thinking about life s inevitable transitions, sometimes in a sad, but always real and thought provoking way. This novel satisfied my New England Beach House fetish and love of intricate characters, covering the long established Porter family tradition of summering on Ashaunt Point in Massachusetts It begins in 1942, from the point of view of Bea, the Scottish nanny to the youngest daughter, Jane, as she makes a difficult choice about her future The book then jumps ahead five years, to the oldest daughter, Helen, attending college in Switzerland This section is told in diaries and letters not my fav This novel satisfied my New England Beach House fetish and love of intricate characters, covering the long established Porter family tradition of summering on Ashaunt Point in Massachusetts It begins in 1942, from the point of view of Bea, the Scottish nanny to the youngest daughter, Jane, as she makes a difficult choice about her future The book then jumps ahead five years, to the oldest daughter, Helen, attending college in Switzerland This section is told in diaries and letters not my favorite style, but effective to show how Helen is beginning to think about what she loves and wants to do with her life.Later sections focus on Helen and her son Charlie, who is very much like her, with excellent, subtle chronicles of their difficult relationship The book continues through 1999, keeping the reader informed about all members of the family and psuedo family like Bea Often, the author tosses in a line or two to give a glimpse of what happens to a character in the future a technique that I love.There is not a definitive plot in this book It s about family interactions and personalities, which were complex and believable The weak points were that the leaps through time were often accompanied by big changes in the personalities of characters certainly natural with maturity, but a little jarring since the reader doesn t see how they got there The book jacket describes an ongoing family issue that flat out did not happen, which is actually fine since it didn t sound like anything I would want to read But it always baffles me when book jacket synopses are wrong A precisely observed, superbly crafted novel, The End of the Point by Elizabeth Graver charts the dramatic changes in the lives of three generations of one remarkable family, and the summer place that both shelters and isolates themA place out of time, Ashaunt Point a tiny finger of land jutting into Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts has provided sanctuary and anchored life for generations of the Porter family, who summer along its remote, rocky shore But in , the US Army arrives on the Point, bringing havoc and change That summer, the two older Porter girls teenagers Helen and Dossie run wild The children s Scottish nurse, Bea, falls in love And youngest daughter Janie is entangled in an incident that cuts the season short and haunts the family for years to come As the decades pass, Helen and then her son Charlie return to the Point, seeking refuge from the chaos of rapidly changing times But Ashaunt is not entirely removed from events unfolding beyond its borders Neither Charlie nor his mother can escape the long shadow of history Vietnam, the bitterly disputed real estate development of the Point, economic misfortune, illness, and tragedy An unforgettable portrait of one family s journey through the second half of the twentieth century, The End of the Point artfully probes the hairline fractures hidden beneath the surface of our lives and traces the fragile and enduring bonds that connect us With subtlety and grace, Elizabeth Graver illuminates the powerful legacy of family and place, exploring what we are born into, what we pass down, preserve, cast off or willingly set free Ashaunt Point on Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts is the location The year 1942 That is when it begins with Scottish nursemaid, Bea, her charge, young Janie Porter, Janie s older sisters, Helen and Dossy, and brother, Charlie Each summer at Ashaunt Point brings changes, both good and bad Love, heartbreak, illness and sometimes brand new lives There are storms, both physical and emotional This is the Porter family chronicle through the year 1999 I have mixed feelings about this book The writi Ashaunt Point on Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts is the location The year 1942 That is when it begins with Scottish nursemaid, Bea, her charge, young Janie Porter, Janie s older sisters, Helen and Dossy, and brother, Charlie Each summer at Ashaunt Point brings changes, both good and bad Love, heartbreak, illness and sometimes brand new lives There are storms, both physical and emotional This is the Porter family chronicle through the year 1999 I have mixed feelings about this book The writing is good enough Last night I wished we had not come, for it was bleak, but the morning changed everything Such a wind, and such clearness and colors, I have never seen before, everything scrubbed clean The yellow and red chrysanthemums are in full bloom now, and the dahlias The roses have turned to red berries and the huckleberry bushes and bay bushes to purple russet My disappointment comes from this quote taken from the inside of the front jacket, Bea falls in love And the youngest daughter, Janie,is entangled in an incident that cuts the season short and haunts the family for years to come I thought there would be a mystery to solve when I read that But no, in fact, the incident view spoiler hardly impacted Janie s life Her lack of emotion about it seemed unnatural There should have beenfallout from it, particularly with the emotional makeup of the Porter family hide spoiler Truthfully, the book rode a bumpy ride without any particularly high or low places in the drama It reminded me much of Jean Thompson s The Year We Left Home It felt like sitting on the neighbor s porch gossiping about the people across the street Some juicy tidbits, but nothing worth writing home about originally published at The basics Spanning three generations of the Porter family and fifty years of their relationships with their hired help, The End of the Point focuses on the family at four different times in history, beginning in the 1950 s Much of the novel takes place at their summer home in Ashaunt, Massachusetts My thoughts Reading The End of the Point made me realize how much I love present future narrators As the story of the Porter family uoriginally published at The basics Spanning three generations of the Porter family and fifty years of their relationships with their hired help, The End of the Point focuses on the family at four different times in history, beginning in the 1950 s Much of the novel takes place at their summer home in Ashaunt, Massachusetts My thoughts Reading The End of the Point made me realize how much I love present future narrators As the story of the Porter family unfolds, the reader gets hints of how things are now, even though the story is told in the moment If things had turned out differently, she would have begun the story here or no, Smitty would have told it unlike Bea, he loved an audience, he d have made it funny, drawn it out These moments aren t frequent, but as I encountered each one, it felt as though I was unwrapping a present We don t have the certainty of the future in our own lives, but literature can provide us with one for these characters It s a testament to Graver s writing and character building that this technique feels so real I was utterly absorbed in this family that kept growing in number as the generations increased Graver infuses so much richness into each of them, it s astonishing the novel is as short as it is It feelsepic than its number of pages, and it feels like a complete story of the people in their time and place Ashaunt is a character itself She loves her house with a tenderness that makes it feel almost human I pictured it so vividly and delighted in seeing how the bedrooms changed hands over the years and depending on which siblings and cousins were there on a given weekend In fact, as the narrative moved forward to the next moment in time, the house provides the structure, both literally and figuratively, as the reader takes stock of what has changed since the last moment in time.As I read the last pages, I wept openly and publicly in the airport terminal When I turned the last page, I was immensely satisfied, yet sad to say goodbye to these characters who felt like family in the two short days I spent with them Most of all, I wondered how I had not heard of Elizabeth Graver until this, her fourth novel Favorite passage Largely, now, it was not anger he felt, but rather a kind of bone scraping, quiet, ever present sorrow To come to the place that was supposed to stay the same, to come and find it changed Dr Miller had warned him against what he called the geographic cure You can t fix yourself by going somewhere else, he d said You ll always take yourself along The verdict The End of the Point is a beautifully written, deeply moving portrait of three generations of the Porter family and the their evolving relationships with their servants and caregivers A multi generational story of a wealthy New Jersey family with a summer house in Massachusetts at the end of the point The writing was satisfactory, and the first section of the book, about the family during World War II, was interesting The character Bea, a Scottish woman who worked for the family as nanny, is a delightful character and her story intrigued me Unfortunately, as the story jumped forward to the 50 s, the 70 s and finally the late 1990 s, the focus shifted to other characters A multi generational story of a wealthy New Jersey family with a summer house in Massachusetts at the end of the point The writing was satisfactory, and the first section of the book, about the family during World War II, was interesting The character Bea, a Scottish woman who worked for the family as nanny, is a delightful character and her story intrigued me Unfortunately, as the story jumped forward to the 50 s, the 70 s and finally the late 1990 s, the focus shifted to other characters who were uninteresting, whiny and tiresome There seemed to be little point to the story other than the expected everyone likes to come back to the summerhouse on the point The End of the Point by Elizabeth Graver is a family saga that basically covers three generations, with the connection being their summers spent at the coast in Ashaunt, Massachusetts Graver opens the novel with a brief passage about the arrival of the first Europeans to the point Then she proceeds to 1942, when the Porter family, three daughters and entourage arrive at the coast to find the army occupying a large portion of it with barracks and viewing platforms This portion of the narrative The End of the Point by Elizabeth Graver is a family saga that basically covers three generations, with the connection being their summers spent at the coast in Ashaunt, Massachusetts Graver opens the novel with a brief passage about the arrival of the first Europeans to the point Then she proceeds to 1942, when the Porter family, three daughters and entourage arrive at the coast to find the army occupying a large portion of it with barracks and viewing platforms This portion of the narrative is told through the voice of Bea, the Porter s Scottish nanny, but introduces us to other members of the family, especially Helen, the oldest daughter and Jane the youngest.Then the novel jumps briefly to 1947 with letters from Helen, written when she was in Europe It quickly switches to Helen s diary entries from 1960 The next section is set in 1970 and follows Helen s troubled oldest son, Charlie The final year followed is 1999 Every character in The End of the Point is struggling with change and finding their place in the changing world around them Of the characters, Scottish nurse nanny Bea is the most compelling She has the courage to leave Scotland to seek employment in America, but struggles with truly living her own life She is fretful about Janie and dislikes Helen, but is resolutely devoted to the Porter family and resists any change in her life that does not include them I was totally swept up with Bea s story and looked forward to seeing the rest of this family saga through her eyes, an outsider but privy to the inside workings of the family.However, once The End of the Point moved on and away from Bea s voice, for me it went down hill Additionally, all the leaps from one time to another made the narrative feel abrupt and disjointed to me In some ways I wish Graver had chose to connect the time periods by observing family members through Bea s eyes, and with her insight and perceptions about the situations Once the first section from 1942 was over a third of the novel it went downhill for me While I didn t care for the characters of Helen or Charlie, I was interested in Bea to the very end and looked for information on her life as the story continued.What elevated my opinion of The End of the Point was Graves skillful writing Graves writing ability shines through several murky plot points She had some lyrical passages that just sang and resonated with me Her powers of observation and description are incredible So, even though parts of the novel didn t work for me it is Highly Recommended for the writing Disclosure I received an advanced reading copy of this book from the publisher and TLC for review purposes On the point you can still find bones fox sculls, rabbit femurs, porpoise vertebrae, and, on the shore in the crevice between two hard lodged stones, a milk tooth lost by a child no longer a child A tale spanning generations, The End of the Point immerses the reader in a specific geographic location Ashaunt Point, which is a tiny peninsula reaching into Buzzard s Bay, Massachusetts From 1942 to the present day, author Elizabeth Graver takes the reader on a journey where we witness the POn the point you can still find bones fox sculls, rabbit femurs, porpoise vertebrae, and, on the shore in the crevice between two hard lodged stones, a milk tooth lost by a child no longer a child A tale spanning generations, The End of the Point immerses the reader in a specific geographic location Ashaunt Point, which is a tiny peninsula reaching into Buzzard s Bay, Massachusetts From 1942 to the present day, author Elizabeth Graver takes the reader on a journey where we witness the Porter family s ties to the land, and the way that time affects both.Graver s writing is stunning Not only does she get inside her characters, but her attention to detail is impressiveIt was an old metal milk truck with the wheels removed, painted army fatigue green so that blended into the bush, but you could still see some letters through the paint an S, a V There is no question that Graver is a literary artist There was also some excellent character development, specifically with the younger Charlie from the 1970 s to the present My biggest complaint would be that Graver took too long to establish the storyline in the beginning and I found it difficult to keep track of who the characters were With the exception of Plants and their Children about 100 pages or so into the book, the style was third person narrative This particular chapter changed things up a bit with a first person narrative, specifically in diary form This really worked for me, and the transition helped me to better absorb the actual story.While the family is affected by the times specifically World War II and the Vietnam era don t expect dramatics here The changes are subtle and quite a bit is internal to the characters A John Jakes saga this is not.The End of the Point is a quite, intimate novel, rich in landscape and prose that shows how people and place can be connected as surely as family 3 1 2 stars Read my full review opinion I felt this book started off incredibly strong, but rapidly dropped off following the period of WWII I could never quite get into this book or grasp what this book was about after this period of time and felt that the author tried to cram too much of a storyline periods of time into too short of a book Because of this, I couldn t connect with any of the characters past 1942 either My recommendation would have been to either make the book lo Read my full review opinion I felt this book started off incredibly strong, but rapidly dropped off following the period of WWII I could never quite get into this book or grasp what this book was about after this period of time and felt that the author tried to cram too much of a storyline periods of time into too short of a book Because of this, I couldn t connect with any of the characters past 1942 either My recommendation would have been to either make the book longer and expand on it a bit or to focus on one period of time and keep it the same length I was sort of reminded of the movie Meet Me in St Louis without the endearing storyline characters.If push came to shove, I would have to admit that the description for the book on Goodreads is not what I walked away with To the privileged Porters, Ashaunt Point, on Buzzards Bay in Massachusetts, is farthan just a summer home it is the place where the family has retreated for five generations to find sanctuary from the harsh realities of life As World War II approaches, the Porters separate peace is threatened by their son s war service and the establishment of an army base on the Point but this also makes for an exciting season of unsupervised adventure for teenaged Helen and her younger sisters, Doss To the privileged Porters, Ashaunt Point, on Buzzards Bay in Massachusetts, is farthan just a summer home it is the place where the family has retreated for five generations to find sanctuary from the harsh realities of life As World War II approaches, the Porters separate peace is threatened by their son s war service and the establishment of an army base on the Point but this also makes for an exciting season of unsupervised adventure for teenaged Helen and her younger sisters, Dossy and Jane For Bea, one of their Scottish nannies, this pivotal year proves to be her last chance at romance before spinsterhood sets in Readers see from her perspective how the summer of 1942 brings a death to hopes and to innocence, only compounding the trauma of the war s casualties.In a seamless shifting of sympathies, the passing of time is conveyed through Helen s letters and diary entries, narrating the beginning of her academic career and her worries about the legacy she is passing on to her children, especially her fragile oldest son, Charlie Decades pass, but whether as a drug addled college dropout or an earnest human rights lawyer starting a family of his own, Charlie finds Ashaunt a haven though it, too, is now under threat of both development and decay.In an astonishing historical sweep, from Ashaunt s first colonial settlers through the cultural upheavals of the twentieth century, Graver s family saga with a difference questions parent child ties, environmental responsibility, and the dictates of wealth and class Her complex, elegiac tale, reminiscent of Virginia Woolf s To the Lighthouse and Liza Klaussmann s Tigers in Red Weather, offers multiple points of view in a sympathetic gaze at a vanishing way of life but an enduring sense of place