All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews

All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Paperback, 336 pages
Published February 24th 2015 by Vintage Canada
first published April 15th 2014
Source: review copy from Random Penguin House Canada

I'm purposely being vague however, this review may contain what some would consider SPOILERS. There are a lot of reviews of this book so I won't say too much and just narrow in on my main points. I enjoyed the read, Toews is an excellent writer and her characters are always wonderful. I think I'll always enjoy any book she writes. This family, with all its extended aunts and cousins, etc, is so strong when it comes together to be a family to endure the sorrows together and I loved them as an example of family. What the (western) world has so much grown away from and lost. I loved Lottie and Yoli, such women full of fortitude, even though Yoli would have us believe she was full of weakness. Elf, the sister described as not wanting to live, I didn't like. We never got inside her head and I understand the point of that. But we were also not told what her problem was, psychiatrically, what was her diagnosis. She refused meds and I became frustrated with the author for not, at least, giving us the information the family would have. Thus, the reader guesses what is wrong with her and I really did not like her at all when she forces her sister, who is against it, to realistically investigate euthanasia on her behalf. The first death was a beautiful one and showed how a well-lived life can end and how those left behind gather strength from it. In the end, I didn't find the book sad at all. I'm glad the book ended the way it did.


  1. I haven't heard of this one nor seen it around. The idea that we are loosing the family 'ideal way' is sad, I'm trying to fight against it.

  2. I agree with you on how wonderful Miriam Toews' books are. (For the record, she is also a lively and very funny public speaker.)
    There is a certain poignancy to All My Puny Sorrows that comes from Toews' own family history. Thanks for this review!


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