Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Reading books is like attending a great feast, one that offers table after table of amazing foods and desserts, appetizers, entrees, fruit fountains and chocolate sculptures. Summer, for me, is a perfect time to indulge in a reading smorgasbord.
I audio read the classics and add a few current selections, I also carry a book with me daily and have one next to my bed for evening. There are no kindles or iphones and no miniature screens with condensed versions of Hemingway or Steinbeck. As a treat, I like the freedom to pick just released novels, the ones with hope and aspirations on every page, these I sprinkle among the well tested and the extraordinary on my reading plate. Among my bounteous courses of words consumed over the past three months, I have most recently read a new fiction, Widow’s Walk, by Kenneth Weene.
Set in Boston a few decades ago the story is about an Irish Catholic family, the Flanagans. Having grown up in the Boston area and myself being the product of a strict Catholic upbringing and education, on many levels I could relate to the characters in Mr. Weene’s book. Kenneth Weene writes a gripping tale of, God, religion, misconceptions, guilt, grief,and fear. Widow’s Walk peels back the layers of a good family torn apart emotionally, spiritually and physically.
When Sean senior dies on the job, he leaves his wife Mary to cope with more than his death. She survives to face her own discontent, routine and the infused guilt of a religious view that has claimed her for years. Mary continues to be more concerned with the will of God than her own happiness and that of her family, she plunges through life a blank page, an empty vessel of a woman.
Sean senior does not live long enough to see his only son, a Vietnam veteran, return home paralyzed. He never sees the deadening pain in his daughter’s eyes from the loss of her unborn child and in the end; his early demise absolves him from the tragedy yet to befall his good family.
“Life is a banquet, and most suckers are starving to death.” This quote mentioned in the story comes from the play, “Auntie Mame”. These metaphorical words resonate in the unfolding story of the Flanagan family. Only young Sean succeeds in overcoming his obstacles, while his mother and sister flounder despite the opportunities offered.
This book will keep you turning pages and comes with a Kleenex advisory as well as the warning to dispense with any notion of a happily ever after.
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Have the best day everyday.