Author: Susie Finkbeiner
Release Date: June 4, 2019
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewer: Jessica Higgins
A beautifully written masterpiece about a broken family learning to heal.
When Annie Jacobson’s father returned from the Korean War, he was the shell of the man that he was before he left. His depression finally got to the point that he decided that his family would be better off if he left them. So, he did. Twelve years later, Annie is now out of high school working at the town diner. Her younger brother, Joel, is fourteen and moving into 8th grade. Her older brother Mike also works at the diner and has just told her he plans to enlist in the army. His draft number will be coming up anyway, so may as well have some say in where he gets placed. Her mother has been working ever since her father left to provide some semblance of home for them. They’ve had their share of trials but have always managed together.
After Mike leaves for basic training, a family tragedy occurs, and Annie’s dad returns home after twelve years. There is plenty of tension among the family members, but they will have to find away to work together. As Mike corresponds through letters with each member of the family, the need for them to stay together becomes more apparent and they must work through twelve years of hurt, despair, and love.
I absolutely love this book! I love that it is a snapshot into a family during this time and what each family member was going through. I can only imagine that even though they didn’t feel like a normal family, several families were facing the same situations that were presented throughout this book. I love that the family had to work out their issues with one another and learn to lean on each other. Told from Annie’s point of view, she is a very strong character that can be overcome at times. Several people lean on her for support and she finally meets someone that she can lean on when she needs it most.
Throughout this book, I become nostalgic for simpler times when there were no electronic gadgets that took time away from families. This family really connected. There were times that they were sitting on the front porch talking about the issues going on in the world that day. Finkbeiner did a great job of making me feel like I was in the time period by dropping in major events that happened and referencing different television shows of the time. I didn’t live during the Vietnam war, but I remember growing up in the 1980s and 1990s and having those type of moments with my family.
One of my favorite aspects of the book may have been all the literary Easter egg references. From Travels with Charley by Steinbeck to A Wrinkle in Time, there were several of my favorite books mentioned. I love it when an author throws in little tidbits like that to make me enjoy the book even more.
Fair warning, this book may make you emotional. There are some very sad moments that occur that may leave some readers feeling depressed. Even so, it is well worth picking up a copy of this book. It is a clean read that will be sure to remain on reader’s personal bookshelves for years to come!
I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.