The Dutch House by Ann Patchett | Book Review


Hi everyone. I’m rincey and this is
rincey reads. Today i’m going to be talking about the dutch house by Ann
Patchett. This is a pretty new release. I actually picked this up a couple of
weeks ago while I was on vacation because I got super excited that I found
a paperback edition cause I was in Europe, and you know sometimes other countries
get paperback editions of new releases. Which makes me extremely jealous. So yes,
as soon as I saw this in the bookstore, I immediately picked it up because I love
Ann Patchett but I usually like to pick up her books in paperback.
I actually like to pick up all books in paperback if possible. But yeah, I’m a big
fan of Ann Patchett. I mean not all of her books always work for me but I
honestly think she’s a really fantastic writer and I’m always willing to give
her books a try. And something about this book just like really called out to me
from like when I first started seeing the cover and people talking about the
book before its release. It’s partially because like this is an amazing cover
and maybe that’s just what it was. But I don’t know, something about this book I
just had this feeling that it would be one of the Ann Patchett books that I
would end up really enjoying. And spoiler alert, it did because I gave this book a
5 out of 5 stars. So in this book you are following mainly
this character named Danny. The story is told over the course of a few decades.
But it’s mainly following Danny and you see everything basically through his
point of view. So, but you’re also following kind of his sister named Maeve.
They are children to this man named Cyril who purchased this house outside
of Philadelphia called the Dutch house, which is this really liked opulent home
that was basically like the talk of the town. But then like the Great Depression
happened and the people who originally owned the Dutch house had to sell off
like pieces of their land. And so the neighborhood moved in closer. But it’s
still this like really big, really beautiful house that Cyril bought for
his wife. But his wife didn’t really want the Dutch house. Like it was a surprise
purchase and it kind of upset her. Eventually Danny and Maeve’s mother, Cyril’s wife, leaves and Cyril gets remarried and
things start to like fall apart in their family. And eventually, this isn’t really
a spoiler because it’s given away in the summary and I think it’s actually talked
about pretty early on in terms of the story, Danny and Maeve are
like kicked out of the house. And you see what their life turns into once they no
longer have the Dutch house as well as like access to their family’s wealth or
just like basic things even. Not even the fact that they’re wealthy, although that
does have something to do with it. So yeah, that’s like the basic synopsis
that I’ll give you guys. There’s a lot that happens in here
but talking about it would kind of be missing the point of this book because
this isn’t really a plot specific book. Like there is plot to this book but
really you’re just following these characters and this family over the
course of a few decades, as well as like the other people in their lives
including like their nanny and some of their housekeepers and eventual spouses
and children of theirs and things like that. And it’s kind of this analysis by
Danny about his life at different periods and what has happened and how
those things kind of impact future things. So this is kind of like the
epitome of a literary fiction book in the sense of like plot isn’t really the
point of it. It’s really a character study. There are a lot of things I really
enjoyed about this book but the one thing that I think will be universal for
anyone who picks up this book is that the writing in here is beautiful. Like I
said it’s not a plot driven book. So it could be seen as slow-moving but
personally I didn’t really see it that way. I found it as being like a very
deliberate and engrossing book. There is this really great sense of like
melancholy that runs through this whole thing, which I’m always very impressed by
authors when they can evoke feelings like that. I think it’s partially because
the book jumps around in time and partially because like you’re getting
the story of these characters and sad things have happened to them and they’ve
lost a number of things including their house and their family. And so that sense
of melancholy is kind of evoked through that. But just, in general, I think that
that melancholy and you know slight nostalgia that happens when you’re
looking back on your life is really conveyed so strongly that I think that’s
kind of what I might have loved most about this book. Like I said, I was on
vacation. I was overseas in London as well as Budapest for a couple of days.
And especially in London, like the whole atmosphere was very gloomy. My mood was a
little bit down. And so I feel like a melancholy book just really spoke to me
at that time. This is not necessarily a book that I would flat-out recommend to
everyone out there the way that I often do with 5-star books. Earlier this year I
read The Collected Schizophrenia and I gave that book a five star and that’s a
book that I will flat-out recommend to basically anyone who talks to me. But
this is not necessarily going to be that type of book for me because I don’t
think that everyone’s going to enjoy this book. The characters in here are not
likable. That’s very like dismissive but I can’t think of a better way to talk
about it. They very much have that like upper-class, waspy attitude to them. Even
though they have gotten through hardships and you do see them struggle,
there is a little bit of like pretentiousness to everything going on
in this book, which again I’m kind of okay with. Like think of Gilmore Girls
without the humor, that’s what I feel like this gives off. Like that especially
like with the grandparents in Gilmore Girls in that whole world, that’s what a
lot of this feels like in terms of vibes because the family is very well off. And
especially like talking about the Dutch house itself quite a bit and how it is
this like really opulent place really evokes those kind of vibes. But I also
think that there are a lot of like really interesting and beautiful themes
that are explored in this book. Things about like the way that you view your
family and how that like changes and shifts as you get older. And especially
like the way that you view your parents and how that changes and shifts as you
get older and potentially become a parent, or even just like as you gain
more information or even realize that your own memories might be off for
whatever reason. There’s a lot of discussion in here about like grudges
and forgiveness and the way that people seem to repeat mistakes that they’ve
done in the past or repeat mistakes that other people have done around them. The
way that things done to us in our past influence the choices that we make in
the future, things like that. I find all of that really, really interesting and I
really enjoyed the way that Ann Patchett explores those different themes through
different people. Like I said, this book does jump around
in time quite a bit. And I will say that one con of this book is the fact that
it’s kind of hard to gauge those time jumps. Like you know that you’ve jumped
time because a character who was a child in one chapter is now in college or
something along those lines. But there’s no like real clear
distinctions about like when anything is happening. But there’s also like a bit of
a timeless feeling to this book which I think was done on purpose because the
ideas and themes covered in here do you have a sense of like timelessness to
them. But I will say that sometimes it was hard to like keep straight the
timeline of these people’s lives because again you jump around in time quite
a bit and it’s hard to like figure out where things fit in regards to other
people. But at the same time, again, I think that it also kind of works because
that’s also kind of how memories work. Since a lot of this is about looking
back on life, you have like a bunch of memories about your life and you might
have like a vague sense of when those things took place. But having like a
clear timeline of your life is never really going to be possible unless
you’ve literally documented it all, which very few people do. But yeah, I think that
just overall this is a really, really beautiful book in really surprising ways.
And even though in general it feels like it’s a very average literary sounding
novel, the way that Ann Patchett writes is just fantastic and she explores
really, really interesting ideas and thoughts in this book. And just saying it
like that feels so like minimal to how this book made me feel. But I mean, I did
give it five stars. I think that she evokes a lot of really great emotions
and ideas in this book. And I definitely recommend it if you are fan of Ann
Patchett’s or if you are a fan of literary fiction in general. So those are
my relatively quick thoughts on the Dutch house by Ann Patchett. Let me know
down in the comments below if you picked this book up and what you thought of it.
Even if you didn’t love it quite like I did, I just like to hear differing
opinions, or just other opinions whether you liked it or not. Or let me know down
in the comments below whether this video was actually helpful for you guys. I feel
like I’ve been thinking about this book since I finished it because I knew I
wanted to talk about it on my channel. But I’ve been having a really hard time
wrapping my brain around it or at least trying to figure out the words I
wanted to use to talk about this book. Because it felt like everything I
currently have in my vocabulary isn’t quite doing it justice. But maybe you
found it helpful anyways. So yeah, let me know down in the comments below.
Or if in the future you end up picking up this book, definitely feel free to
come back and talk with me down in the comments section. So yeah, that’s all I
have for now and thanks for watching.

1 thought on “The Dutch House by Ann Patchett | Book Review

  1. RIncey, I've been a long time viewer. I LOVE YOUR reviews so much. I purchased this a couple of weeks ago, and I can't wait to read it. The cover is absolutely gorgeous!

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