The Arrivals: A Novel
Meg Mitchell Moore
Reagan Arthur Books (2011)
Reviewed by Leslie Granier for Reader Views (6/11)
Ginny and William Owen are the parents of three adult children who have all moved out on their own. One summer, they all unexpectedly arrive for extended visits. Although spending time together should be a pleasant experience, each of the children is dealing with a secret or a burden which instead leads to chaos and conflict. Lillian has left her husband because he was unfaithful. Steven is planning on becoming a stay-at-home father so his wife can pursue a lucrative career. Rachel has just broken up with her boyfriend and finds herself in financial difficulty. Although Ginny and William love seeing their children, they long for the peace and quiet that has been lost. They also question whether they are somehow responsible for their children’s unhappiness.
The plot of “The Arrivals” revolves around the relationships between all of the characters. The parents wonder if they have failed to teach their children independence and coping skills. They have difficulty deciding when to take action and when to be patient. The children, who do not seem like bad people, are a bit selfish when it comes to wanting their needs met. But when they all reconnect as adults an important lesson is learned – do not cast judgment on people, especially when you do not know what is motivating their actions.
This book would be a good choice for a book club to discuss. It offers a unique look at the stereotypes associated with gender roles in parenting. It also tackles the subject of how parenting has changed over the last several decades. It explores whether modern parents have become more permissive, set lower expectations for their children, and if they are too quick to bail them out of tough situations.
“The Arrivals” is an excellent book that will appeal to an adult female audience. Those who have adult children who have moved back home will especially connect with the subject matter. The incorporation of humor, sadness, nostalgia, and healing accentuates the well-developed plot. The characters created by the author and the style in which the story is told come across as a realistic portrayal of a typical family.