Ask Again, Yes
Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane is the story of two families whose lives are intermingled: the fathers are both police officers, they live next door to each other and the kids play together. Tragedy strikes and their lives are changed. Dramatically.
The effect of this single act reverberates throughout the next several decades with surprising results.
It's a story that forced me to contemplate forgiveness (for even the most wretched things), accepting people for who they are and forced me to ask myself if I'm able to do any of those things. (I still don't know.)
I LOVE family dramas. I love to compare and contrast to my own jacked up family drama, looking for times when I can say, "Welp, I guess my family wasn't THAT bad." It happens. Sometimes. Maybe.
I had originally given this book 4 stars, but after further contemplation, I raised it to a 5. I love character-driven books and I was completely engrossed in the lives of these families. I COULD NOT put it down and I've thought a lot about these people since I finished it.
I cared about each one of the characters, which is imperative for this kind of story. Also, each character's story was told from multiple points of view, offering a more nuanced view of each relationship.
It covers all sorts of real-life problems: infidelity, loss, mental illness, alcoholism, hating your kid's best friend. It's not corny or sentimental. The book invites you into all of the dark corners of their homes (juicy!) with exceptional results.
The author writes with such compassion that I could not help but feel empathy for both families even though I wanted to hate a couple of them.
P.S. Ask Again, Yes is PRIME book club material. Seriously.
At some points in the middle of the story I was wondering where it was going, but the ending made me realize that every part of the story was necessary. It all comes full circle in the end.
Quotes from Ask Again, Yes:
“...and sometimes when he watched her - searching for something in her bag, or peeling an apple with her knuckle guiding the blade - he felt a shiver of panic that he'd almost not met her.”
“They'd both learned that a memory is a fact that has been dyed and trimmed and rinsed so many times that it comes out looking almost unrecognizable to anyone else who was in that room or anyone who was standing on the grass beneath that telephone pole.”
“The thing is, Peter, grown-ups don't know what they're doing any better than kids do. That's the truth.”
Like I said, I LOVE a good family drama. Do you have any favorites? Share them!
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