Tom Lake by Ann Patchett

Tom Lake by Ann Patchett Book Summary



In this beautiful and moving novel about family, love, and growing up, Ann Patchett once again proves herself one of America’s finest writers.

“Patchett leads us to a truth that feels like life rather than literature.” —The Guardian

In the spring of 2020, Lara’s three daughters return to the family's orchard in Northern Michigan. While picking cherries, they beg their mother to tell them the story of Peter Duke, a famous actor with whom she shared both a stage and a romance years before at a theater company called Tom Lake. As Lara recalls the past, her daughters examine their own lives and relationship with their mother, and are forced to reconsider the world and everything they thought they knew.

Tom Lake is a meditation on youthful love, married love, and the lives parents have led before their children were born. Both hopeful and elegiac, it explores what it means to be happy even when the world is falling apart. As in all of her novels, Ann Patchett combines compelling narrative artistry with piercing insights into family dynamics. The result is a rich and luminous story, told with profound intelligence and emotional subtlety, that demonstrates once again why she is one of the most revered and acclaimed literary talents working today.

Tom Lake Book Details

Book Name Tom Lake
Genre Fiction & Literature
Author Ann Patchett
Published 01 August 2023, Tuesday
Price $15.99
E-Book Size 2.66 MB

Tom Lake by Ann Patchett Book Reviews

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Siobhan N

One of the Most Boring Books Ever. This is a seriously boring book, with the most boring characters. It was like reading the story of one of the two ladies in the SNL NPR skit. There is no way children would be that interested in their parent’s past.

Cut wood

Great book. The writing is wonderful, as are the characters. We’ll worth the time.


Wonderful Audio Book. This is my first book by AP. I absolutely loved it. Rich characters. Full circle story. Relatable. Believable. Feels like it could be a true story but of course it isn’t. I could see this as a movie. Really enjoyed it!!

Shaye bae bae

Beautiful writing and story!!. I loved the story of the summer of 2020 and had a similar experience with my family and felt so thankful that summer. This book captures that and the love story of Duke and “Emily”. A couple of woke messages about climate change bothered me but besides that I loved every minute of it. I do know our climate is changing but it always is in a state of change. She pulls you out of the story a bit adding that story line in. It wasn’t needed.

Never thought I'd be a gamer

I wanted to bake a cherry pie and read it all over again immediately after finishing it!. Lovely. Lonely. Beautiful. Tragic. The Nelsons are the family I always wanted, and now feel a part of! Thank you for helping me find a home.


Must read. Oh my goddddd I loved this book. Fantastic. No notes. It’s like a big warm hug. It’s like every Nancy Meyers movie rolled into a book. I pictured Meryl Streep as the narrator and I’d highly recommend doing that. Such a perfect book to start the new year with. I’ve always loved Ann’s writing, but I’ll be sure to make a conscious effort to read more this year. Made me laugh! Made me cry! The family dynamics and the storytelling are impeccable. Read this book!


WHAT?. I found this book very boring. I kept waiting for something interesting to happen but it never came. I was so disappointed with it and was happy when I finished reading it.


Couldn’t even complete. This book is very boring and most of my book club members couldn’t even finish. I DONT get the hype. I would give it a zero out of 5 if I could.


In Need of a Better Edit. Ann Patchett is a marvelous writer and I’ve loved many of her previous books. Tom Lake could have been improved by a clearer edit. The first 100 or so pages are slow. We don’t get to key plot points until p. 170 or so, and then all kinds of revelations are dropped into the final chapters. The pacing could have been improved, as well as the character development. It’s also clear as soon as we meet Duke that he will break Lara’s heart and his reckless behavior signals eventual tragedy. I was dying to know more about Joe, who was way more interesting than Duke, and he seems two-dimensional. A miss for me, although it will be a huge best seller.


Just what I needed. This is a beautiful book that, to me, ultimately is a reminder to accept past decisions and appreciated the life I’m living as the result. There is beauty everywhere and no time for regret.

M Defend

Lovely book.. It started out a little sleepy but as the story unfolded, I was pulled in. Made me remember what young love was truly like. Well worth the time and memories.


A slow but worthwhile burn. It took a while for me to get sucked in to this book, but, by the end, I couldn’t put it down. A very worthwhile read!


Tedious, overrated. So much obsession by a middle-aged woman with an old boyfriend who sounds dreadfully self-absorbed, neglectful and boring. The final chapters were rushed - perhaps Pachette also lost interest - and the so-called reveal was underwhelming. Very disappointed I spent any time with this.


Loved it. Couldn’t put it down.


Tom Lake. Loved the story, does not move fast, good brach read.

Kimbo V

Just okay... Call me crazy but I think this was an easy write for Ann and she went with the $$$. This book assumes you know all about the play that the book is about and it’s catch-up time the whole time if you don’t. I enjoyed the characters but couldn’t wait to just finish it and move on .I have enjoyed Patchett books before but this one is a dud.


Makes you reflect on your life. Makes you reflect on your life the could would and the should.


Profound. Relentlessly good read


Sensitive and thought provoking. Loved the story and the main characters. When I finished reading this book, I had to watch “Our Town” on YouTube. I chose an excellent version with Paul Newman as the Stage Manager.


Tom Lake. Tom Lake is a place where young adults seeking a dream come together one summer.They find more than they are looking for. One goes off to stardom . One finds a home and builds a family.


Loved it!. Best book I’ve read in a while. I didn’t want it to end!


Meh!. No development of the characters or real insight into their behavior. The premise borders on the ridiculous - daughters hanging on their mother’s every word for details about her personal life? Most of us can’t get our kid to call us every two weeks. The NYC ending is just wacky. I felt like I was laboring through it, committed to finishing only because it was a book club read.


Pace yourself. Beautiful. Not a page turner but beautifully written. She writes with such detail, you can see and feel it all.


It was ok. Beautiful writing, interesting concept, moved slow, unconvincing ending. You won’t be sorry you read it, but you won’t likely be moved by it either.

Swan S.

girly book. But well written enough. Surprised that I finished it.


Incredible good. I loved the humanness of this book. How you could picture everything so clearly and understand the characters because they are so human like someone you already know. I loved this book.

The Best Book

Patchett usually delivers a better novel. Not as compelling or interesting or well written as her other novels. Basically, a mother telling her daughters about her coming of age summer. Good story, not more than 3 stars.


Stilted. Writing stilted. Author wrote for herself, not really shareable. Key plot unraveled too slow, then too fast. Big let down. Ugh


Perfect read. Captivated until the very end.

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Ann Patchett - Tom Lake Comments

5 Books like Tom Lake (Ann Patchett)

About Author "Ann Patchett"

Ann Patchett (born December 2, 1963) is an American author. She received the 2002 PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize for Fiction in the same year, for her novel Bel Canto. Patchett's other novels include The Patron Saint of Liars (1992), Taft (1994), The Magician's Assistant (1997), Run (2007), State of Wonder (2011), Commonwealth (2016), The Dutch House (2019), and Tom Lake (2023). The Dutch House was a finalist for the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Biography Ann Patchett was born on December 2, 1963, in Los Angeles, California, to Frank Patchett (a Los Angeles police captain who arrested Charles Manson and Sirhan Sirhan) and Jeanne Ray (a nurse who later became a novelist). She is the younger of two daughters. Her mother and father divorced when she was young. Her mother remarried, and when Patchett was six years old the family moved to Nashville, Tennessee.Patchett attended St. Bernard Academy, a private Catholic school for girls in Nashville, Tennessee run by the Sisters ....

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