Count the Ways: A Novel

Count the Ways: A Novel

by Joyce Maynard (Author)

In her most ambitious novel to date, New York Times best-selling author Joyce Maynard returns to the themes that are the hallmarks of her most acclaimed work in a mesmerizing story of a family - from the hopeful early days of young marriage to parenthood, divorce, and the costly aftermath that ripples through all their lives.

Eleanor and Cam meet at a crafts fair in Vermont in the early 1970s. She’s an artist and writer, he makes wooden bowls. Within four years they are parents to three children, two daughters and a redheaded son who fills his pockets with rocks, plays the violin, and talks to God. To Eleanor, their New Hampshire farm provides everything she always wanted - summer nights watching Cam’s softball games, snow days by the fire, and the annual tradition of making paper boats and cork people to launch in the brook every spring. If Eleanor and Cam don’t make love as often as they used to, they have something that matters more. Their family. 

Then comes a terrible accident, caused by Cam’s negligence. Unable to forgive him, Eleanor is consumed by bitterness, losing herself in her life as a mother, while Cam finds solace with a young new partner. 

Over the decades that follow, the five members of this fractured family make surprising discoveries and decisions that occasionally bring them together and often tear them apart. Tracing the course of their lives - through the gender transition of one child and another’s choice to completely break with her mother - Joyce Maynard captures a family forced to confront essential, painful truths of its past and find redemption in its darkest hours.

A story of holding on and learning to let go, Count the Ways is an achingly beautiful, poignant, and deeply compassionate novel of home, parenthood, love, and forgiveness.

In Joyce Maynard's "Count the Ways," we are introduced to a riveting story of love, loss, and the enduring bonds of family. Set amidst the tranquil backdrop of suburban New Hampshire, the novel delves into the lives of the Rutledge family as they navigate the aftermath of an unspeakable tragedy. At the heart of the story lies Matthew Rutledge, a charismatic and popular high school senior whose sudden death leaves his family and friends reeling in grief.

As the Rutledges struggle to come to terms with their loss, they find solace in the shared memories of Matthew's life. Through flashbacks and poignant reflections, we learn about Matthew's passions, his dreams, and the deep connections he had with those who loved him. His parents, Helen and Frank, must confront their own grief while trying to support their surviving children, Caroline and Miles.

"Count the Ways" is a deeply moving and insightful exploration of the complexities of grief and the resilience of the human spirit. Maynard's masterful storytelling captures the raw emotions of loss, the search for meaning in the face of tragedy, and the enduring power of love. As the Rutledges navigate their new reality, they discover the strength within themselves and the importance of cherishing the precious moments of life.

Throughout the novel, Maynard delves into the complexities of human relationships, exploring the dynamics between parents and children, siblings, and friends. She deftly portrays the nuances of family life, the challenges of communication, and the unspoken bonds that hold families together. "Count the Ways" is a powerful reminder of the fragility of life and the importance of living each day to the fullest.

With its evocative prose and deeply resonant characters, "Count the Ways" is a compelling read that will stay with readers long after they finish the last page. Joyce Maynard's ability to capture the essence of human experience shines through in this poignant and thought-provoking novel.


July 13, 2021