This is a good, but difficult book to read. Mona Simpson writes well; she masters a sort of folky writing style where the reader must infer from the dialogue what really is happening behind what is said. Simpson comes across as a dispassionate but very keen observer of things around her. The real beauty of this book, though, can only be understood if you have read a lot about Steve in real life. Without knowing about Steve, this book is entirely without context. More than anything, this work is personal, it's real, it's poignant and it is written in a deceptively dispassionate way. What Mona has done with her characters - particularly Noah and Jane, is absolutely remarkable. To create Noah on paper, is to my eyes, one of Simpson's greatest accomplishments in this book. Do I recommend this book? Only if you are interested in a serious, slow, literary read and only if you have done lots of homework on understanding Steve.