- Reviewed by: Kol Anderson
- Print Length: 320 pages
- Posting: Literary Fiction
- Publisher: Stone Cabin Press (December 19, 2012)
- Book Provided by: Author
- Author: John J Kelley
- Posting Date: July 25, 2014
- Rating: 3 Star
“She was curious how he was getting on, and imagined there were things he’d never share. She was fine with that. It was possible to love him without fully understanding. Wasn’t it like that with anyone for whom you cared deeply?”
This book is about a lot of things. How war changes people and how people get affected by the awful things that happen to them. The book is the depiction of the life of a middle-class family who has to go through a lot just to stay alive. A father who owns a quarry that isn’t making any money and a son who comes crippled back from war, and not just physically, and the pretense that he consistently tries to keep up when he comes back in order to make his family feel like there’s nothing wrong.
While I liked the book on the whole, there were some parts where the writing didn’t come through for me. Especially when it comes to Aiden, I feel like I still don’t know him, despite reading the entire book, he came across as very flat. It was the same thing with Joshua even though his character was written a little bit better than Aiden’s. Some of that stuff, it gave this book the look of a first attempt novel, but still on the whole I kept wanting to read it, albeit slowly, and I did enjoy it for some reason.
Maybe it was the way the stories of those characters and maybe it was the feel of that town, I enjoyed the premise and the setting and the scene descriptions were beautiful too. I also felt like some scenes were put there for no real purpose, just to increase word count or something and things like this they kind of took away from a story that had a lot of potential. The premise was classic literary fiction, it had all the elements and it was original too, but the execution was a bit lacking.
Another major flaw was that the book was based on too many subjects, like there wasn’t one consistent theme, it was a mix of several themes. I feel like if it was solely based on Joshua’s PTSD and how war changed him, it would have been much better. The book is being marketed as a war based novel, those elements should have been emphasized more, but instead it was kind of all over the place including the father’s illness and the mother’s dilemma and family problems and life in that small town all in one book.
So yes, overall not a bad book to read exactly but nothing too memorable either.