Alice Montgomery recently lost her father to a heart attack. He has left behind
his wife and four kids, all of whom
are unique individuals. The eldest, Jeffrey is a beleaguered star
athlete who keeps messing up the opportunities he has due to the trauma of
losing his father. The next is Charlie, who shuffles a life of small crimes and
religious obligations while staying his mother’s favorite. The youngest, Zack
is the love child of Alice's father Jon
and one of his co-workers but he was adopted into the family without question. The mother, Maddy is working
vehemently to pull herself together
by balancing two jobs at the same time to support her family.
Outside the Big Oak
Doors by Michelle Tocher is a short but wholesome story about the chaos that runs deep in families. It follows
Alice as she navigates her relationships with her mother and other siblings
while at the same time dealing with the fact that she is the only girl amongst
three brothers. By using Alice as the
has built a robust core to the story, developing the portrait of a beautiful
plot replete with family dynamics and drama. The book is divided into chapters
that revolve around certain characters or incidents with no chronological order
but the different threads are so intelligently woven together to create a
delightful reading experience.
Michelle Tocher infuses the writing with realism and
humanity, crafting scenes that are believable and creating characters that are
likeable and unforgettable. With the protagonist as an astute observer, the
author details her quest to understand numerous decisions that her father made.
These choices had a significant impact on the life that they are leading today.
All-in-all, the novel uses real-life incidents that are common occurrences that collectively become an unexpected driving force in the text. It is
fast-paced, filled with drama, and moments that are emotionally engaging.