They May Not Mean To, but They Do: A Novel

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Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Jun 7, 2016 - Fiction - 304 pages
69 Reviews

Joy Bergman is not slipping into old age with the quiet grace her children, Molly and Daniel, would prefer. She won't take their advice, and she won't take an antidepressant. Her marriage to their father, Aaron, has lasted through health and dementia, as well as some phenomenally lousy business decisions. The Bergman clan has always stuck together, growing as it incorporated in-laws, ex-in-laws, and same-sex spouses. But families don't just grow, they grow old. Cathleen Schine's They May Not Mean To, but They Do is a tender, sometimes hilarious intergenerational story about searching for where you belong as your family changes with age.

When Aaron dies, Molly and Daniel have no shortage of solutions for their mother's loneliness and despair, but there is one challenge they did not count on: the reappearance of an ardent suitor from Joy's college days. They didn't count on Joy suddenly becoming as willful and rebellious as their own kids.

With sympathy, humor, and truth, Schine explores the intrusion of old age into a large and loving family. They May Not Mean To, but They Do is a radiantly compassionate look at three generations, all coming of age together.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - nyiper - LibraryThing

SO well done! The audio was wonderful----you could see all of these family members working through what happens to all of us. Joy, in particular, was a delight---putting it all out there about "being old." Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bookchickdi - LibraryThing

Cathleen Schine's newest novel, They May Not Mean To, But They Do is a gem. It tells the story of a family who are at the stage of life where they must deal with aging parents. The mother Joy is ... Read full review

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About the author (2016)

Cathleen Schine is the author of Fin & Lady, The Three Weissmanns of Westport, The New Yorkers, and The Love Letter, among other novels. She has contributed to The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine, and The New York Times Book Review. She lives in Los Angeles.

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