3 stars feels a little generous because the first 300 pages I really wanted to give up. All the hype surrounding the book made me doubt myself a little (maybe something really interesting is going to happen in the next 50 pages?) which of course was a mixed decision. The latter half of the book was worth it, but by then I really was wishing pain and tragedy on the characters just so they would do something a little more interesting to do and talk about. There's nothing wrong with middle class striving, it just needs to have something a little richer than the striving to talk about in a novel.
After about 350 pages, some significant developments happen that totally change the tone of the novel. Eileen has always been a caretaker for her family members, and the novel later on expands more deeply on this theme. However, the issues with constructing the novel (and there are some issues, I thought, with the last 50 pages as well) both in plot and point of view really detracted from it.
That being said, this is fairly good for a first novel. There are lots of pitfall and the pacing is atrocious, but the characters were interestingly drawn and the actual mechanics of the writing were pleasant. Nothing too inventive or fancy, but it did the job perfectly. Now, if someone could just take a red pen to the whole thing, that would be totally awesome.