That Old Cape Magic
by Richard Russo
Paperback- N/A

For Griffin, all paths, all memories, converge at Cape Cod. The Cape is where he took his childhood summer vacations, where he and his ...

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  "Dreams lost and found on Cape Cod" by dmc1230 (see profile) 09/24/09

Richard Russo is one of my favorite authors and he delivers the magic with this book. Jack and Joy Griffin have realized their dreams but happiness still eludes them. They have a lovely daughter and a comfortable academic life but Jack is still haunted by his parents (literally and figuratively) and his somewhat miserable childhood. Jack's parents are almost parodies of professors in the "mid-f***ing west." They are portrayed vividly and their patronizing voices are all too clear. I wish other characters were as keenly drawn... especially Joy, daughter Laura and friend Sunny Kim. I could easily have read another 300 pages of this book. Russo fans will recognize some of his old themes... self-absorbed, well-meaning men and their shattered dreams. Middle-age introspection. Academic snobbery. etc. There are many light moments in this book as well. A seagull with perfect aim, fender benders and a slapstick scene at a rehearsal dinner. In Russo fashion, this book explores some deep ideas but leaves the reader with a smile.

  "It was Lousy" by pucci_chaudhry (see profile) 11/21/09

  "Fun with Mom and Dad" by landry747 (see profile) 01/19/10

If you loved "Straight Man," you'll love this book. Funny and gripping.

  "What Magic?" by FriendshipSisters (see profile) 06/01/10

We thought this book was very slow, that is if you could make it through the first half. The story was pointless, boring and not worth the time it took to read it. Don't bother!

  "Struggled" by LCalvert (see profile) 08/17/10

I did not enjoy this book. I felt no connection to the main character at all; I had much more of an emotional investiment in the side characters. I was very glad when it was over.

  "That Old Cape Magic" by jaws6489 (see profile) 08/24/10

I really did not enjoy this book. I had no investment in the characters and really did not care about them. It was also a pretty depressing read.

  "Mid-life Musings" by sweetee (see profile) 08/31/10

“That Old Cape Magic: A Novel” by Richard Russo

In life you can’t get everything you want, but not so with Jack and Joy Griffin. They mapped out their future on a bright sunny day during their honeymoon. They wanted Jack to quit his screenwriting job and secure a future in the world of academia…done! They wanted to move back east…done! They wanted a family…done! They wanted a ‘professor’s home’…done! Then why, oh why, was ‘Griffin’, at age 57, suddenly asking himself, “What do I really want?” When he had only himself to please, he couldn’t make a decision. He was having doubts about his life, his choices, his desires, and his worth. Why was he so discontent?

We spend a year with Griffin, framed between two weddings, one year apart. To the first wedding he totes along an urn of his father’s ashes, which he fully intends to scatter along the waters of Cape Cod. To the second wedding, the first urn is accompanied by a second one containing the ashes of his mother.

The novel is full of musings between Griffin and his Mother and he dwells constantly on his relationship (or lack of?) with his parents. Griffin also ponders his adolescent summers at The Cape and wonders if his recall is genuine or somewhat distorted. The author created some original, hilarious, laugh aloud incidents sprinkled throughout the story as well as some family ‘ties-that-bind’ moments that may or may not ring true to the reader.

I read this book on the beach and that was a perfect paring. All in all, ‘That Old Cape Magic’ is an easy read. There is some depth, however, and perhaps some familiarity, as Griffin comes to realize that happiness is not necessarily a destination. A very worthwhile read~
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