Did You Ever Have a Family

Recommendation Breakdown: Did You Ever Have a Family

Did You Ever Have a Family

We all love books for different reasons, so I always try to feel out why someone loved a book when I give a recommendation. If you loved Bill Clegg’s novel Did You Ever Have a Family, here are four more titles to check out based on the book’s unique traits.

Shelter by Jung Yun

Let’s start with story. Just like Did You Ever Have a Family, Jung Yun’s Shelter is a heartbreaking, but beautiful, novel centered around a family tragedy. Though its perspective is different and pace is quicker, Shelter has a similar feel, particularly when it comes to the truths families must face in the wake of life-altering change.

Enon by Paul Harding

It’s nearly impossible to forget June, the central voice of Did You Ever Have a Family, dealing with the loss of everyone she holds dear. If her voice resonated with you, you’ll hear it echoed in Enon‘s Charlie Crosby as he mourns loss of his daughter in the year after her death. (This is a small book, but be ready for big, ugly tears.)

Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf

The small town setting of Did You Ever Have a Family can act as both a fuel and a salve, depending on the character and the situation. The case is much the same for Addie Moore and Louis Waters in Our Souls at Night. Though their small town holds them together, it also knows their secrets and becomes increasingly constricting as they seek one another’s company.

Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist by Sunil Yapa

One of the most unique aspects of Did You Ever Have a Family is its brilliant use of alternating perspectives to shed light on the novel’s central tragedy. Though it’s story is completely different, Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist is another amazing example of the same technique, with a look at the World Trade Organization protests in 1990.


  • Shelter and Enon are already on my TBR list. I LOVED Our Souls at Night (Though I hated Gene for what he did!), and Did You Ever Have a Family was absolutely wonderful, and, oh, my…Your Heart…I am working on a review of that one now. It is so difficult for me to boil it down. That book hit me so hard! :) I love that there are so many great reads out there!! I’m just like a kid in a candy shop!! (Well, I am just like a kid!) :)

    • So glad to hear you read and loved You Heart is a Muscle! It’s been one of the few shining stars in a rather lackluster year for me so far.

  • Yay – I’m definitely going to have to make time for Shelter since I loved Family so much! And I also recently downloaded the sample for Our Souls at Night – keeping it in my back pocket for when I want something short. Glad to see Family starring in your Rec Breakdown!

    • Definitely give Shelter a shot. It grabbed me from the first few pages, so I think you’ll know right away if it works for you or not.

  • I’ve read the top three and the bottom two are on my list, so this is a total homerun for me. I loved ENON and I’m happy to see it getting some love. I don’t hear it mentioned too often. Did you read Tinkers? I have not gone back and done so. I’m kind of afraid to and I’m not even sure why.

    • I haven’t read Tinkers yet and that’s EXACTLY how I feel about it. Clearly it must be amazing and I’m sure I’ll read it at some point, but the feeeeels.

  • Nicely done! I’ve heard such good things about Enon, but I’m afraid of the heartbreak.

  • Love this, Shannon! What a great pick for your breakdown! I am definitely interested in Enon now; thank you for the recommendation. I will add it to my list…and try to be prepared. :)

  • This is such a nice match up. I just finished Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist after putting it down earlier and loved it! I never dreamed it would move me like it did. I’m not familiar with Enon but it looks interesting.

  • I loved Did You Ever Have a Family so I’ll be sure to add these to my TBR pile. Although, I just finished Girl at War, so I’m looking for something a little lighter at the moment.

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