The Biographies of Ordinary People: Volume 1: 1989–2000
by Nicole Dieker
Pub Date 23 May 2017
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A Millennial-era Little Women that follows three sisters from 1989 to the present.
Library Journal Self-e Selection, with five stars from Foreword Clarion Reviews: “This first volume is deeply satisfying.”
The Biographies of Ordinary People is the story of the Gruber family: Rosemary and Jack, and their daughters Meredith, Natalie, and Jackie. The two-volume series begins in July 1989, on Rosemary’s thirty-fifth birthday; it ends in November 2016, on Meredith’s thirty-fifth birthday.
When the Grubers move to a small Midwestern town so Jack can teach music at a local college, each family member has an idea of who they might become. Jack wants to foster intellectual curiosity in his students. Rosemary wants to be “the most important person in her own life for the length of an afternoon.” Meredith wants to model herself after the girls she’s read about in books: Betsy Ray, Pauline Fossil, Jo March. Natalie wants to figure out how she’s different from her sisters—and Jackie, the youngest, wants to sing.
Set against the past thirty years of social and cultural changes, this story of family, friendship, and artistic ambition takes us into intimately familiar experiences: putting on a play, falling out with a best friend, getting dial-up internet for the first time. Drinking sparkling wine out of a paper cup on December 31, 1999 and wondering what will happen next.
“The Biographies of Ordinary People contains artful writing and delicately drawn characters who navigate through the universal tragedies and triumphs of everyday life. This first volume is deeply satisfying.” – Foreword Clarion Reviews (five stars)
“…Dieker excels at depicting how real people think and act. When she writes from a child’s perspective, she successfully portrays the state of knowing but not quite understanding.” – Kirkus Reviews
“Dieker writes with unrepentant honesty about the human condition, crafting the story of the Gruber family with subtle narrative tension and the central claim that every life is worthy of a biography.” – The BookLife Prize