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Summary

Following the death of their mother from a botched backwoods abortion, the McAlister daughters have to cope with the ripple effect of this tragedy as they come of age in 1950s Mississippi and then grow up to face their own impossible choices - an unforgettable, beautiful novel that is threaded throughout with the stories of mothers and daughters in pre-Roe versus Wade America.

Life heads down back alleys, takes sharp left turns. Then, one fine day it jumps the track and crashes.”

In the fall of 1957, Olivia McAlister is living in Opelika, Mississippi, caring for her two girls, June and Grace, and her husband, Holly. She dreams of living a much larger life - seeing the world and returning to her wartime job at a landing boat factory in New Orleans. As she watches over the birds in her yard, Olivia feels like an “accidental” - a migratory bird blown off course.

When Olivia becomes pregnant again, she makes a fateful decision, compelling Grace, June, and Holly to cope in different ways. While their father digs up the backyard to build a bomb shelter, desperate to protect his family, Olivia’s spinster sister tries to take them all under her wing. But the impact of Olivia’s decision reverberates throughout Grace’s and June’s lives. Grace, caught up in an unconventional love affair, becomes one of the “girls who went away” to have a baby in secret. June, guilt-ridden for her part in exposing Grace’s pregnancy, eventually makes an unhappy marriage. Meanwhile Ed Mae Johnson, an African-American care worker in a New Orleans orphanage, is drastically impacted by Grace’s choices.

As the years go by, their lives intersect in ways that reflect the unpredictable nature of bird flight that lands in accidental locations - and the consolations of imperfect return.

Filled with tragedy, humor, joy, and the indomitable strength of women facing the constricted spaces of the 1950s and 60s, The Accidentals is a poignant, timely novel that reminds us of the hope and consolation that can be found in unexpected landings.

©2019 Minrose Gwin (P)2019 HarperAudio

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  • Jojo
  • 04-10-20

Why???

Why did you end the story like this???!!! Of all the ways that this could end.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Angela b
  • 02-04-20

Wonderful

What a unique way of storytelling. Very real heart breaking and joyful! I loved every chapter.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Lynn
  • 14-06-21

Well written

Narrator does a good job with the voices. He miss pronounces the location in the cell.

I’m sure the books will appeal to other people. The only reason I kept it was because I can no longer return any books to audible. The book did not make me feel good and it was difficult to listen to. However it was interesting and it brought back a lot of memories having grown up in the same span of time as the protagonist.

Unfortunately it did remind me of the racist past of the sale. As a person who continues to live in the south I’m thankful to be able to say that things have changed a lot here.

Spoiler alert: I was very disappointed that Grace did not reconnect with Jess. And that The nurse never knew who Jesse was.

With all of this said, this felt like a great novel come here Charlie brown Charlie brown I just usually let him down the steps sorry Charlie Brown come on early come on Charlie come on Charlie come on squirt oh good god yes sure good to see you’re a good to see ya

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  • Gabriela
  • 07-05-21

snore

put me to sleep it was all over the place and it just was not enjoyable

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Lori J. Kirby
  • 17-03-21

the accidentals

It took awhile to get into the story, and then I loved it! Then ending though...awful. Hence, the name I guess.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • StephiePow
  • 14-03-21

I kept on till the end.

It sounded interesting. I read the other reviews and they all talked about the ending so I was intrigued. Now I’ve wasted two days I can’t get back.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Hannah D.
  • 28-02-21

Amazing

Wow, wow, wow. Love this story, could NOT stop listening. Beautiful character development, plot twists and writing.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Randee Senseney
  • 02-11-20

Sad story!

If you’re looking for something with a happy ending, skip right over this one. It’s full of one sad thing after an orb

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Patricia
  • 05-08-20

Story Woven Together Beautifully

This author is very talented at weaving together a chronological story going back and forth between the past and present.
The lives of the characters are developed just enough so you understand their story. The descriptive prose,used frequently, is so masterful that you will imagine the scene and the setting vividly in your mind as you listen.
I would strongly recommend this book.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • brenda transon
  • 08-11-19

ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL

This book started slow but ended up being one of my favorite so many surprises. Wow u won’t be disappointed JUST WOW LOL