Well my fellow book lovers, today is a bittersweet day because I am typing my last book review blog for The Burr. Because of that, I thought I should use this occasion to bring you a bittersweet novel. And Owen Sheers’ latest book is just that.
Like the blurb on the back cover, I am going to be straight up with you: This book is about a fictional author named Michael whose wife is killed on a journalism assignment in the Middle East. Sad, yes, but because readers are notified of the death before the story begins, it doesn’t come as a shock. However, Michael’s path of grieving, the friends he makes and a tragic accident might just make you wallow in tears.
After Michael’s wife Caroline is killed because of a United States droid operation gone wrong, he moves back to London, England, where he meets a young family—parents Josh and Samantha and daughters Lucy, 4, and Rachel, 6. The family seems normal enough—they invite Michael over for a little gathering soon after he moves in next door, eat breakfast together and Josh seems like a hardworking family man. But like most families, they have their issues and their secrets.
Michael finds solace while spending time with the family. Lucy and Rachel show off in front of him, and Samantha talks to him like they have known each other their whole lives, but it isn’t until he spends a night out on the town with Josh that he learns Josh isn’t the loyal, trustworthy husband everyone thinks he is. A few beers and many strippers turns Josh into a young bachelor, not the father of two Michael knows he is.
Josh and Samantha work out their issues, and the girls are happy, but after a tragic accident including Michael and Lucy, the perfect family portrait is shattered. Josh moves out, Samantha is left with Rachel and the house, and Michael struggles with guilt.
You are probably wondering what the big accident is and why Michael feels guilty about it, but I just can’t tell you. Like always, I am going to let you figure it out for yourself by reading the book. It took me a while to get into the story. The first 50 pages are slow and kind of boring, but that is just one opinion, so please read this book and many more, because without readers, a book is never quite complete.