Another book review coming at ya! I'm trying my hardest to catch up and finish out the year strong! Keep your fingers crossed that I make it to the end of the year!
If you need a refresher about my book reviews, check it out here!
So, with no more ado, here is my review of Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane!
Ask Again, Yes begins when two fellow cops move to the same small town. Time passes as their families grow and they settle in to life in Gillam. The Gleesons have three daughters, the youngest being Kate, and the neighbors, The Stanhopes have a son Peter. Soon, Kate and Peter become close friends. But, Peter's mother is suffering from mental illness and refuses to let Peter and Kate see each other. When Peter's parents get into a really bad fight, Mr. Gleeson goes over to check what's going on and gets shot in the face by Mrs. Gleeson.
Peter and his father move to Jersey with his uncle, but soon his father abandons him, leaving Peter in the care of his uncle. Peter goes to visit his mother in the hospital, but she tells him not to visit anymore.
Peter soon learns his good at track and is able to get a scholarship to college.
Peter thinks about Kate, and getting in touch with her, and on one drunken night, finally sends her a letter. Soon, the pair reconnect, and begin dating. Peter's mother is released from the hospital and she begins watching Peter and Kate. Soon, they're married and move to the suburbs.
Kate and Peter soon have two kids, and Peter becomes a cop.
But, his drinking soon becomes a problem, and he is taken off the force.
Kate confronts Peter's mother, looking for answers as to why Peter is drinking.
After threatening to leave him, Peter goes to rehab. He comes home, but falls off the wagon again. Knowing how he disappointed Kate, he promises to be good from now on.
The novel ends with Peter finally being accepted by Kate's family, and Peter starting a tentative relationship with his mother. When he gets word that his father has died, Peter asks Kate if she would do it all again knowing what would happen. She says yes.
I really liked this novel. It reminded me of Commonwealth by Anne Patchett in the scale and familial issues. It dealt with some very complex issues, and how those issues can affect people throughout their lives. I thought the plot was very original. I loved the scope of the novel, how it followed The Gleesons and The Stanhopes for decades. It gives the reader time to see these characters develop and grow as the novel progresses giving the reader a very deep understanding of them.
The setting isn't that important to the novel. I think it could have taken place in any suburban neighborhood and it would have still been the same novel. I think the characters were very well developed, giving the reader the chance to feel sympathetic for all the characters, even Peter's mother.
I liked Keane's style. Even though the novel was written in 3rd Person POV, I still found her style moving and elegant. This is one of the few novels where I think the use of 3rd Person POV actually works very well. It allowed us to see all characters, but Keane was still able to fully develop all the characters within the novel. The dialogue was all well-thought out, well-written, and helped move the novel forward. Keane was able to use the dialogue to develop the characters.
All in all, I give Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane a 4 out of 5! It's a story of forgiveness and redemption and beautifully written!