Author: Steven Manchester
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
First Published: 2017
Page Count: 257
Film/TV Adaptation: No
Rating: 3/5 Stars
A feel good story that takes on many philosophical topics through the eyes of two estranged brothers.
*Philosophical Plot *Overly Descriptive
“…..ashes, ashes, we all fall down.” Brothers Tom and Jason Prendergast haven’t seen each other since their childhood when the tragic rift in their relationship began. Now both well into their middle ages, they are forced to reunite when their father passes away. In order to collect whatever he has mysteriously left them, they must travel together across the United States in order to spread his ashes in Seattle. Will they be able to overcome the past and their very different personalities in order to deliver their father to his final resting place?
Generally speaking this book in its entirety is very enjoyable and quick to read. Delving into each brothers’ lives is interesting because they are so different. This inevitably leads to some funny exchanges between the two during the road trip, but also some serious discussions about life and a lot of today’s hot topics. However, what I enjoyed most about the book was the conclusion. It’s not hard to guess what is probably going to happen at the end of their road trip when you start the book but it is still a very emotional event. Maybe I’m just really sensitive since the deaths of both Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, but anything to do with a family bond really gets to me right now. It’s a bittersweet conclusion that makes this a three star book versus a two star.
As pleasant as the reading experience is with this book and how easy it is to get through it, it still lacks the punch to make it something that will stand out in my mind come December 2017 when I’m reviewing what I’ve read for the year. The book is a bit too philosophical for my taste because the plot is basically listening to two brothers’ debate their past and society’s hot topics. That doesn’t provide for a lot of action or as much movement in the story as I would like to keep me thoroughly entertained. I also felt the story was sometimes overly descriptive when I just wanted to get on with what was happening. A good amount of description can pull a reader deeper into the setting but it can also feel overdone making it laborious to read through.
This is not one of my favorite pieces of Manchester’s work but it is still a moving story which is his forte. This book relies a lot more on dialogue and flashbacks to move the plot, and some people might enjoy this type of story more than I did. I need a bit more action and a more thrilling plot to really grab my attention which is why the book didn’t “wow” me. However, it is a feel good story that I’m pretty sure would appeal to most readers in search of a contemporary work of fiction to read next.
*I received a free copy of this book for this review from the author.