“We repeat what we don’t repair.” — Ask Again, Yes, Mary Beth KeaneThank you to the publisher, Scribner Books, Dart Frogg Company and the author for a complimentary copy of this book.
What do you think? Are we bound to make the same mistakes, further compounding them, when we don’t get to the heart of the matter? How do the actions we fail to take ripple into the psyche of those we love and try to protect?
At first glance, even in the first few pages, I expected this to be a run of the mill book about two couples living next door to each other. You know, the family next door with the boy meets girl type story. A somewhat typical trope.
Yes, two families live next door to each other, their kids growing up together. But one night all of their lives change when Anna, who has an undiagnosed mental illness, has a gun and her son Peter runs next door to his neighbor’s, Lena, Francis and Kate to call the police (his father Brian is a police officer and so is Francis).
Keane covers a lot of time in this book without it feeling rushed, and I was invested in seeing how it all turned out. The complexity in the relationships and people depicted convey quiet a bit. The awareness of EVERYONE knowing something is wrong with Anna, but the way we try to pretend or ignore problems, hoping they will resolve themselves, is to our own detriment. How the toxic thinking of minding your own business, that she’s not quite right, these very serious issues being taboo to discuss or get help for because, in the past, people knew little about mental illness.
How a person being sick, how a marriage mate with a stressful job comes home and just wants things to be normal. When coping begins to spill over into the lives of other people. When matters reach a breaking point and lives are changed forever.
Some walls (trauma) are difficult to climb over/tear down, feeling like insurmountable obstacles we just don’t know how to begin or where to start. Forgiveness is a theme that reverberates in this book. It’s sometimes easier said than done, especially when you need to forgive yourself first.
I was left wanting to hear from Brian because his role in the story felt unfinished but overall, a book to get lost in over the weekend.