Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane
ebook, 400 pages
Expected publication: May 28th 2019 by Scribner & Simon & Schuster Canada
About the Book:
A profoundly moving novel about two neighboring families in a suburban town, the friendship between their children, a tragedy that reverberates over four decades, and the power of forgiveness. Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope are two NYPD rookies assigned to the same Bronx precinct in 1973. They aren’t close friends on the job, but end up living next door to each other outside the city. What goes on behind closed doors in both houses—the loneliness of Francis’s wife, Lena, and the instability of Brian’s wife, Anne, sets the stage for the stunning events to come. Ask Again, Yes by award-winning author Mary Beth Keane, is a beautifully moving exploration of the friendship and love that blossoms between Francis’s youngest daughter, Kate, and Brian’s son, Peter, who are born six months apart. In the spring of Kate and Peter’s eighth grade year a violent event divides the neighbors, the Stanhopes are forced to move away, and the children are forbidden to have any further contact. But Kate and Peter find a way back to each other, and their relationship is tested by the echoes from their past. Ask Again, Yes reveals how the events of childhood look different when reexamined from the distance of adulthood—villains lose their menace, and those who appeared innocent seem less so. Kate and Peter’s love story is marked by tenderness, generosity, and grace.
The book was fascinating with believable characters and a complex story. There were so many topics covered from child abuse to sexual assault to immigrants to mental illness. It seems so many topics would make the story confusing but they really didn't. The pace of the story was good as we heard from different viewpoints. The ending comes nicely together and is believable - not tied up with a pretty bow, but something that seems feasible.
This book completely gutted me. It was heartbreaking and horrifying and mesmerizing at once. I didn't want to stop reading but I had to take breaks to let my mind rest and process everything that was happening. The characters were so real. Uncomfortably real. I loved it and I hated it at the same time. The writing was beautiful, the characters expertly created and drawn, and the plot was solid. But the heartbreaking reality of it just floored me. I hated how mad and sad and horrified and uncomfortable it made me feel but at the same time, I loved it. I found the book to be compelling and relevant.
Thank you NetGalley, Scribner & Simon, Schuster Canada and Mary Beth Keane for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an impartial review; all opinions are my own.
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