Reviews & Press

blatant self-promotion #1: my new adult novel & miscellany“Provocative…Yet somehow the novel feels generous. We identify with the Pomeroys’ trouble while we gasp at their casual brutality and marvel at Patsy, who journeys from oppressive Bible schools to military service in Iraq and, finally, to becoming a more loving mother than her own could have dreamed of being.”
– Caryn James, O Magazine

“Zevin delivers in her blazing second adult novel a Corrections for our recessionary times….Zevin mixes sharp humor with moments of grace as she gives readers terrific insights into the problems of adult children removing themselves from the influence of parents, and establishes herself as an astute chronicler of the way we spend now.”
 Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“Zevin’s writing is often surprisingly, if darkly, funny, thanks to her wry and astute cultural observations….[Main character] Patsy is flawed like the rest of her family, but she also has complex thoughts and tries to live without hypocrisy….Her experiences in Iraq have left her scarred and jittery, but she has too much bravado to wallow in self-pity. Zevin breathes real life into this tough-girl vet, a heroine for our times, recognizable from life but new to fiction.” 
Malena WatrousThe New York Times Book Review

“Every day newspaper articles chronicle families battered by the recession, circling the drain in unemployment and debt or scraping by with minimum-wage jobs. But no novel has truly captured that struggle until now….The novel’s true subject is how a once-loving family reacts when times get bad. For Roger, that means taking refuge in his religion, even when it asks him to excommunicate his own children. For George, it means slipping into years-long depression. And all five Pomeroys — flawed, devoted, cranky, impetuous, utterly relatable — come blazingly alive on the page.”
– Tina Jordan, Entertainment Weekly (Grade: A-)

”Equal parts sharply funny and sobering, Zevin’s portrait of a family in financial free fall captures the zeitgeist.”
 – People Magazine

“Merely summarizing the plot doesn’t do the book justice—it’s far more gripping than you’d expect from a family drama about the consequences of falling deeper and deeper into credit card debt. The real force of the novel, aside from Zevin’s elegant, no-words-wasted prose, comes from her complicated, multifaceted characters, who have an astonishing capacity for extremes of both generous and selfish behavior.”
– Becky Ohlsen, BookPage

Hole is a story of financial lives, and it makes plain that the financial life of a family is just as important as, if not more important than, its religious life. Even more surprising: It’s just as compelling as a novel that is primarily concerned with the emotional life of an American family. Hole feels current, like fresh journalism, a mirror held to modern times.”
-Paul Constant, The Stranger (Seattle)

“A sharp, funny, and timely look at a debt-ridden, God-fearing American family. . . . Zevin skewers a host of social issues from religious zealotry to the consequences of war to the entitlement mind-set of average Americans. What makes her book more than just a satire, though, is the deft way she thoroughly humanizes her characters. Readers will relate to and be moved by a beleaguered family’s attempts to climb out of debt and dysfunction.”
Joanne Wilkinson, Booklist

“This bitingly funny profile of the debt-ridden, God-fearing, all-American Pomeroy family surprises with its moments of grace and its insights into the holes we dig for ourselves and our children.”
 – Jean Westmoore,
 The Buffalo News

“Zevin powers her second novel for adults with the same understanding of family dynamics that fueled her knack with young adult literature.”
– Cleveland Plain Dealer

The Hole We’re In is a gut-clenching illustration of a family spiraling down into a morass of debt. Told from the point of view of the different family members, their stories reveal an emptiness due to a kind of chilling emotional disconnect. Yet, whether readers are grateful not to be part of the Pomeroy family or identify uncomfortably with their predicament, we cannot help but empathize with them—which makes for quite the gripping read.”
Terry Miller Shannon ,

“In this unforgettable novel, Gabrielle Zevin shares the saga of a uniquely American family. Devoid of pity yet full of compassion, The Hole We’re In introduces us to flawed characters desperate to get back to the garden of an idealized American Eden—where debts are forgiven, family secrets remain buried, everyone gets a good credit rating and a higher education, and spiritual redemption can be achieved with a new coat of paint.”
– Stephanie Kallos, author of Broken For You

“Gabrielle Zevin’s sentences burst like fireworks off the page—from the first chapter, I was hooked. Smart, sassy, and wise,The Hole We’re In is a delightful treat.”
– Amanda Eyre Ward, author of Love Stories in this Town

“An unflinching depiction of an all-American family. Hypocritical, debt-ridden, God-fearing— there might not be much to admire about Zevin’s characters, but there is much to love about them. The Hole We’re In is a compelling read, and a true and honest novel.”
Binnie Kirshenbaum, author of The Scenic Route

“The Pomeroys are your normal American family, heavily in debt, lacking communication skills, and tempted by your garden variety of carnal sins, with a side order of pride…. Zevin plays around with structure, juggling perspective at first and then honing in on one character. She packs the story with a full platter of issues, from abortion to race to veteran’s issues and of course, religious intolerance. The sins of the father (and mother) play out over two generations, in a manner that had me alternately sad and hopeful.”
 Daniel Goldin, 
Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

“Zevin’s an author for the world between LA and NY.”
– Geoffrey B. Jennings, Rainy Day Books, Fairway, KS

“I loved it! I picked it up for a peek. It is unputdownable!”
– Karen Wendler, World Eye Bookshop, Greenfield, MA

“…very subtly Zevin pulls you in, and you begin to see the humanity, and (gasp) sometimes even yourself, in her characters. Her writing is a perfect match for this story, not a wasted word or scene. Roger (who kept bringing to mind John Edwards) remained the family member I most wanted to punch. Zevin was brilliant weaving all the threads of our current social mess (war, credit calamity, religion, class) together in a cautionary tale I won’t forget. So many scenes stay with me, so many sparkling paragraphs. Like Patsy, Zevin doesn’t pull any of her well-placed punches. I want a T-shirt for this book. Long live Patsy.”
– Leslie Reiner, Inkwood Books, Tampa, FL


“Editor’s Choice” – New York Times Book Review, 4/4/2010

“Books We’re Buzzing About” – More Magazine, 3/2010

“The Must List” – Entertainment Weekly, 3/19/2010

“7 Books to Watch” – O Magazine, 3/2010

“Book of the Week” – The Week Magazine, 4/23/2010

“Indie Next List” – 3/2010

“Indie Next List for Reading Groups” – Summer 2010


“Trying to Fix a Hole by Digging Deeper” – an interview about the book on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday

Where the Money Went” by Greg Changnon – an interview about the book in Publishers Weekly

“In Praise of Risky Covers” by Andrea Walker – the New Yorker Books Blog on the jacket.

Reading Group Guide on

“Signature Club” – Mandalyn Campbell, a Chicago Tribune reader reviews The Hole We’re In for Printer’s Row, the paper’s blog about books.

“Canadian debt: The $1.4 trillion hole we’re in” by Jennifer Wells – an editorial in the Toronto Star

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