Twisted Family Values

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 25 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

I love a good family drama and this one delivered!  I liked the characters, yes, they were super-flawed,  entitled, but that's what made the book entertaining.  

I felt like I wanted the book to end sooner, since we find out what the big secret is at the beginning, and I felt that it dragged a little bit towards the end to get to the big reveal.  

Overall, it was a great book and I highly recommend if family dramas are your thing.
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I always love a good dysfunctional family story and Twisted Family certainly delivered! Secrets and scandal and drama abound in New Jersey was certainly a fun read for this New Yorker!

3.5 stars
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This is a story that manages to be hilarious while also striking straight for the heart. All of the characters were deep and enjoyable, but the cousins were my favorites. All of the elements come together to highlight that no family is perfect and we’re usually wrong when we think the grass is greener on the other side.
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For the sake of disclosure this is one of several books that I was unable to download in time because I had lent my kindle to my mother-in-law. I was able to track down a copy and read it finally.

First off, I love this cover, that and the title are what initially drew my attention and the book description solidified that interest.  This book is not for everyone, there is a taboo subject that some will find a bit too much for their taste. Also this book is "sex positive" in that there is quite a bit of it and it can be descriptive. There is an assault so be warned if that is a trigger for you.

I have often stated in reviews my personal distaste for explicit detail of intimate situations and I stand by that. My rating will reflect that. That being said, this book is much more that. It is bizarre but not overly. It is interesting and the characters are first rate. The reader likely knows some people like this though perhaps not to this extreme.  In every town there is some family considered the creme de la creme, the ones who "rule", the ones the others envy or at least they think they do. This is a peek into the private lives, the things hidden away, never to be referred to. I kept picturing this as a movie. Shades of The Royal Tennebaums, The Hotel New Hampshire came to mind along with Flowers in the Attic.
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Every family has its secrets, and no family is perfect. 

Covering generations of the Thornden family, Chickering gives us a prolific tale that demonstrates the perfection of dysfunction in the family unit. 

That being said, I did find this book to be a bit of a struggle to complete. As much as I wanted to enjoy the storyline I really struggled with the privilege and some of the questionable actions of the imperfect characters.
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This a great summer read! The book definitely captures its title. The story spans a few decades and shows the perspectives of multiple family members across a few generations. I definitely thought this book was going to be a little different… I was thinking more like The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, but I guess I was pleasantly surprised.
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Biz and Charlie are first cousins, born to sisters Claire and Cat Thornden. They are raised together almost as brother and sister, in the huge Thornden clan, being taught to "do your Thornden best." Over the years, Biz and Charlie become the best of friends, spending all of their time together. With the urging of their family that they are too close and their relationship is taboo, they decide that they will branch out at college and make new friends. Even new boyfriends/girlfriends can't keep Charlie and Cat apart, saying "there is no one like you" to each other constantly. What they both don't know is that Charlie's mother, Cat is hiding a secret that could allow them to be together. 

Over the years, hilarity ensues in the various Thornden family gatherings, and you meet a cast of lovable and relatable characters that remind you of your own family. This book was a humorous, smart and realistic family drama. I laughed, cried, sang and danced with the Thorndens and you will, too!
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I really tried with this book. I kept giving it chances, but finally I had to quit at the 42% mark because it was so offensive.

First, this is a slow moving and fairly boring story. I guess the excitement should come from the naughty, illicit sexual interest of first cousins. It felt so forced and really uncomfortable. Shock value not achieved, just another reason for the reader to not want to continue reading the story. Nevertheless, I continued to read because I almost always finish every book I start, no matter how bad. Especially if I have been given a copy to review since I think it's important to give the book as many opportunities to redeem itself before it is reviewed.

Then came the rape scene between the cousins. Or maybe just attempted rape? I'll never know, because I was so disgusted by the turn it took that I could not continue reading. 

Than you to Net Galley for the ARC for a fair and honest review.
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Well, this was weird! Much more weird than I bargained for, if I'm honest. I understand that it's supposed to be WASP-y, but man! What is wrong with these families?

I did finish this book, for what it's worth. That means it's successfully pulled me in enough to stick around and see what happens to these crazy characters. That being said, it wasn't easy to get me to finish reading the book. The first time those best friends kissed, I cringed so hard I had to physically turn away from my phone and take a few breaths. I don't know how accurate or relatable this story is to WASPs. But I do know that some stories can make us root for incestuous couples, and this was not one of them for me. I will say, though, that this is probably just the wrong-est book I could get for me as a person, possibly because I could not fathom such a culture, but it could very well be a different experience for other readers.

I don't know, man. I don't know what I just read.
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I received an advanced digital copy of this book from the author, St. Martin's Press and Thanks to all for the opportunity to read and review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own. 

This multi-generational tale has a family with a good heart but is loathsome in almost every detail. Equal parts funny and sad, you're pulled along through the neighborhood gossip to what is appearance and what is real.  Engaging and entertaining read.

5 out of 5 stars. Highly recommended.
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"Always do your Thornden best!" This is the family motto in Twisted Family Values. This book travels over 30 years following the lives of two of the Thornden's, Elizabeth and Charles. Elizabeth "Bizzy", is the daughter to Claire, a no nonsense woman who is the queen of keeping up appearances. Charles "Choo" is the son of Cat, the person who everyone in the family can trust. These two are cousins and best friends and we get to see them conquer the world from the age of 12 until they reach their 40s. A lot of things they get into are not acceptable to their family, most of all Claire. Will these two be able to remain friends long into their lives, or will they just have to settle at being family?

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to read and review this book.

When I read the description of this book, I was very excited to read it. The beginning hooked me in right away, but then throughout each section, there was a lull, a point where it felt like there was a bit too much information. There were also times when it was predictable, but I don't really have too much of an issue with that.

Everyone has drama in their family and I'm sure we all have an extended family member out there, who feels more like a friend or a sibling than a cousin or aunt or uncle. Bizzy and Choo are best friends, as they go through life, they lean on each other to learn different aspects of life, sometimes their friends and family don't understand their relationship, but they don't care.

Through their teens, college, and adulthood, this family goes through a lot, but will Biz and Charlie be able to survive it all and remain friends.

Good book and I will read more by this author.
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In WASPy Larkspur, New Jersey, social expectations and decorum rule, and Marjorie and Dunsfield Thornden are the envy of their neighbors. Their daughters Claire and Cat set the small town’s social calendar by throwing tastefully lavish family parties year round. Because it’s 1977, underage debauchery is to be expected—and Cat and Claire’s children, Bizzy and Choo, are at its very center. 

I loved this family!! every character was well developed, and the book was intriguing, twisty, and funny.
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I want to thank V.C. Chickering, St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for giving me the chance to review this book...

technically I am giving 4.5 stars...I liked the was  a little odd but it was good. It had me laughing and shaking my head the entire time. and once everyone found out the big dark secret the taboos that happened in the past didn't seem so bad...Kinda wished the mom/aunt would have told the secret before hand but I guess it would have made the story a lot shorter...Overall it deserves the 4.5
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Twisted Family Values, by V.C. Chickering, was a disappointing struggle.  Set in a state in which I lived most of my adult life and in an era when I also emerged from adolescence, I expected to relate instantaneously to these characters.  Instead, I followed the antics of a large set of cousins who seemed so shallow and self-absorbed that it obscured whatever plot existed.  I nearly gave up on the book several times.  I persevered, and at about 70 percent through the book, when the characters begin to struggle with middle-age, the story took form.  I appreciated their reflections on the choices they made, and how their paths determined their current circumstances.  There are a couple of true laugh-out-loud moments and a couple more amusing quotes. 

Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for giving me the opportunity to read an electronic ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you to St Martin’s Press and Netgalley for an ecopy of this book for review. This was a well written book focusing on decades in the lives of an extended family. At times the story is a bit cringe worthy and uncomfortable and at other times heartwarming and humorous. One thing that is maintained throughout the book is that the family wants to maintain a facade to keep their social standing in the community. Unfortunately this leads to many secrets that affect some of the family members for decades. It was fun to see the family grow and change over so many years and to see how expectations changed over the years. This was such a dysfunctional family and there were always different issues coming up. Ultimately the family remained strong through the years and we see it come full circle. I enjoyed this book and I was definitely invested in some of the characters. If you like character driven books this is for you.
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This was a pretty face paced look at family life in the late 1970s. I was born a little bit after then so it was interesting to see how life was like back then--there were a lot of cultural references that really set the mood and scene. The humor was a bit dark and satirical which I liked, I felt it set it apart from some of the other family novels I've read recently.
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By the end of this book I absolutely fell in love with this family. I would give this 5 stars but I wish that there would have been some kind of warning on the kissing cousins plot. But, I found I really wanted them together. This whole family is very near and dear to my heart and I think we can all see our families in them. I can’t wait to read more from this author. Impressive.
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A view of a family spanning over generations that shows how families help, protect, hate, and love one another.  Fun, messy family!
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Cat and Claire are sisters and mothers to a total of 5 children.  They live next door to one another and share a very large back yard complete with pool, and other amenities for family entertainment.  Even though they are sisters, they are not alike and harbor some animosity toward one another.  Their parents are wealthy and dinners and holidays at their home are formal and everyone is expected to attend.

It is the 1970’s and while Cat and Claire entertain quite a lot, the children amuse themselves in the basement.  Biz, short for Elizabeth, and Choo, short for Charlie, are first cousins and best friends.  They are constantly in one another’s company and even have a secret language.  The children all sneak alcohol and smoke cigarettes behind their parents back. 

As they grow up, Biz and Choo head off to college and we learn about the friends they meet.  They secretly love one another but know it is wrong and cannot be because they are cousins.

The story follows the family members as they age and the secrets they keep,  The time periods covered are well depicted and the fashion, food, music and customs are spot-on.  There is lots and lots of drinking and some family members share their anger with one another.

No matter what your age, prepare to laugh and cringe as you read this book.  I laughed out loud as it brought back many memories of my days in the 1970s and on up.  There are secrets galore and you, dear reader, are in on all of them.  Sit back and have a great time as you read this book.  I’m betting your best laugh will be awarded to Carl.  Who’s Carl?  He is not to be missed so grab a copy and have fun!

Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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This was an absolutely fabulous read which was just what I needed after the emotional roller coaster ride I was on after the last binge. This one was not only entertaining and outlandish but fun and captivating and fast-paced and witty. This dysfunctional family had me laughing my way through their lives.  I definitely recommend this one and deem this the perfect beach read.  Why didn't I tell you more about it? There is a perfect blurb that tells you about this book and I'm tired and not going to repeat :)  READ THIS ONE!  You will not regret it. 

**Received this ARC for review from the publisher via NetGalley**
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