- Fizzy Thoughts: Three Junes

Three Junes

Friday, February 08, 2008

Three Junes
Julia Glass
2002
353 pages

I had avoided this book for a long time. I didn't not want to read it, but I didn't much want to read it either, if that makes any sense. I had seen it in the bookstore plenty of times, but other than that, I hadn't paid much attention to it. The author's other book, The Whole World Over, is another story...I've come close to buying that one a few times.

So anyways...Lisa offered to send me this book, and I took her up on her generous offer, not really knowing what to expect. Which is probably a good thing...had I known how much sadness is in the book, I wouldn't have read it. Which isn't to say I didn't like it, because I did. It just made me cry in parts (which really, isn't all that hard for a book to do...some people cry over animals, I cry over books).

Three Junes is told in three parts (the title refers to the month, not three women named June). The first section, Collies, is about Paul. Paul's wife Maureen has just died, and he has decided to take a trip to Greece. While on vacation he reflects on his marriage and his three sons, Fenno, David and Dennis. This was my least favorite part of the book, as it flips back and forth between the present and the past. And the past jumps all over the place. I was starting to wonder about whether I could stick with it.

But after 57 pages, the book moves on to the second part, Upright. Upright is told from the viewpoint of Fenno, as he returns home to Scotland after the death of his father. Fenno lives in New York, is gay, and is somewhat of an introvert, prefering to remain a bit removed from life. He is totally different from his two brothers, and he is feeling very much not part of the family, especially as his brothers allude to family secrets he had no clue about. Fenno's section also looks back in time, as he recounts his life in America and his relationships with Mal and Tony. This section seemed more fluid...it was certainly easier for me to follow Fenno as he moved back and forth in time. It is also the longest section, and the heart of the book. And yes, the part that made me cry.

Part three, Boys, brings together Fenno, Tony and Fern, who was a young woman Paul met in Greece in section one. Like the first part of the book, this is a shorter section. It focuses on Fern, as she thinks back on all the men (boys, really) she has loved and tries to make a decision about her future. While Fern does make a decision, and you can see certain changes in Fenno, there is also a degree of openness in the ending, and some unanswered questions. At least for me.

Despite the slow start, I really enjoyed this book, especially the story of Fenno and Mal. I think I might have to read the author's other book, the one I've previously been able to resist.

3 comment(s):

Anonymous said...

I read this a while ago and scenes from it pop into my head now and again.
Angie

lisamm said...

Hi Softdrink, I'm glad you enjoyed the book. For some reason it sat on my shelf for nearly a year and I always found a reason not to read it. I'm glad it went somewhere where it could be more appreciated. :-)

I've been reading The Girls forever!! But I'm down to the last 60 pages. I plan to start Garden Spells after that, and then The Time Traveler's Wife for my bookclub meeting in March.

Anytime you feel like swapping books again, let me know!

Stephanie said...

I've had this book sitting on my shelf for a while - I guess one day I'll get to it!

In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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