This is the story of a woman on her deathbed and her thoughts about her life and how she has raised her children in the absence of their father, whether it damaged them and their perspectives on their childhood to find some closure when they have families of their own. Pearl Tull is a very hard working but emotionally distant woman and this is evident in the way that she reflects about the way she raises her children and their perspectives about the way they were raised. When she met the father of her children, she was 30 years old and out of the running to for beauty contests while Beck, her husband was 24 years old; quite young and energetic. He was a salesman and kept the family on the move which was quite damaging because they never put down roots and were disconnected from their extended family. They have three children in this lifestyle who were Cody, Ezra and Jenny. When the youngest was 9, Beck suddenly abandoned the family by going on to the next job without them.
In the meantime, Pearl gets a job and tries her best to provide for her three children but it takes a toll on her. As a result, she is embittered and becomes verbally and physically abusive to them. The perspective of the story then changes to each of the children and shows how they felt about the way they grew up. Cody is the oldest and took his father's leaving the hardest. As a result, he begins to act out a lot of the time and becomes an angry youth lashing out at everyone in his life. He develops deep jealousy for his brother Ezra, who does not need to struggle a lot to find happiness in the smallest things. Jenny is also a victim of her mother's abuse being her only daughter.
As they grow older Ezra develops a close relationship with the owner of a restaurant and inherits the property transforming it into the ‘Homesick restaurant'. He finds a girl named Ruth and they have a happy life, as Ruth tries to live up to the family expectations. Cody becomes like his father in some ways getting a job that requires a lot of traveling and avoids contact with Pearl or Ezra at any time. Jenny gets married to different people; the first was too controlling. The second abandoned her with a child and she finally settled with a man with many children himself. Ezra loses Ruth and goes to live with Pearl in her dying years while struggling with depression and submerging himself in working on the restaurant. At the funeral of Pearl, he manages to invite all family members for a meal at the ‘Homesick restaurant' with an appearance from Beck. The presence of the father helps to make everyone get a bit of closure.
Best part of story, including ending:
I like this story because it is one of perseverance and true feeling and parental mistakes because as much as Pearl tried her best to take care of the family without any idea of how to, she also took out her frustrations on the children.
Best scene in story:
I liked the scene at the beginning when Ezra is at Pearl's side and waits for her to wake up. She is grateful for his company as she does not want to admit it but she is afraid of death and the solitude that would be hers if she were not there.
Opinion about the main character:
I like that Pearl was able to pick up the responsibility of raising the children on the spot without missing a beat when their father abandoned them.