Monday, September 7, 2015

Small Mercies

Overview from Barnes and Nobel:
A startling and tender portrait of one family’s struggle to make peace with their son’s death
An ingeniously layered narrative, told over the course of one week, Eddie Joyce’s debut novel masterfully depicts an Italian-Irish American family on Staten Island and their complicated emotional history. Ten years after the loss of Bobby—the Amendola family’s youngest son—everyone is still struggling to recover from the firefighter’s unexpected death. Bobby’s mother, Gail; his widow, Tina; his older brothers Peter, the corporate lawyer, and Franky, the misfit; and his father, Michael, have all dealt with their grief in different ways. But as the family gathers together for Bobby Jr.’s birthday party, they must each find a way to accept a new man in Tina’s life while reconciling their feelings for their lost loved one.In unflinching but lyrical prose, Joyce shows us one mother’s struggle to keep her family together and preserve the memory of her son. Following Gail as she moves from the corner offices of white-shoe Manhattan law firms to the blue-collar gin mills of the outer boroughs, Small Mercies reveals a different New York, one that exists in the hearts and minds of its inhabitants.Presented through multiple points of view, Small Mercies explores the conflicts and deep attachments that exist within families. Heart-wrenching and profoundly relatable, Joyce’s debut is a love letter to Staten Island and a deeply affecting portrait of an American family.


This was a great book from a first time author. I loved it! It tells the story of how one Staten Island family is affected for years after their fire-fighter son was killed during 9-11. The characters were well developed. The story was good. It is happy and sad at the same time. The only thing I can find to complain about is the excessive number of times the word F*** is used. Now I tell you I am not a prude. I have been known to drop the bomb a time or two in my life. (Okay that might be an under-exaggeration). But I have never found it necessary, in either books or movies, to over use the word to tell the story. Although this might well be the way an Italian-Irish family talks. I enjoyed the book. I will look for other books by this outstanding author.

Now I am on to reading The Shack by William Paul Young. Have you heard about this book?

18 comments:

  1. I too agree with the word starting with F being dropped so much and sometimes so unnecessarily. This book does sound interesting though. I read about 1/2 of The Shack and had to put it down, but I don't want to say anything about it until you finish it and if you review it here.

    betty

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    1. An occasional F word doesn't bother me. But is you had to take so many of them out of the book that there wouldn't be much left, then that is too many! I haven't gotten very far into The Shack yet but I have read a few of the controversial reviews about it! Both good and bad! We'll see what I think.

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  2. I haven't read either of these books. Swearing for the sake of swearing when it is used in an unexpected context can get in the way of the story for me. This sounds like an example of that. The story is probably pretty compelling without its use. I wonder why the author did that.

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  3. I read The Shack years ago and liked it. I think you will too. I will have to put this book on my (getting longer every day) list to read.

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    1. It has been on my list for awhile. We'll see what I think. You will like Small Mercies Wendy. I have never lost an adult child (and I cannot even imagine the horror of it) but this book takes you there.

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  4. I read the Shack and wasn't sure about it. Then I found myself thinking about it more than I thought and so I re-read the book. I normally don't re read any books. I really liked it!! It tool some getting used to but I get the point. I hope you enjoy it.

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    1. So far I am finding it okay. I don't re-read books either. I have read a couple this year that I would probably read again!

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  5. I agree with you about the F-bomb. It's a $1 fine at my house. I loved The Shack and so did Goodnight.

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    1. Welcome back Gram. I have missed you. $1.00 fine, huh! I will let you know what I think of The Shack

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    2. Yes, sorry, it's a buck for the F-word. I started that with my daughter. I tried the nerdy academic approach by presenting the analysis of the function of swearing, particularly the F-word, in interpersonal communication and the appropriate slection of alternative words, but that elicited sarcasm, snickering, boredom and it did not reduce the use of the F-word. The $1 fine resulted in greater success. Like you, I am not a prude either and the fine applies to me as well, but my daughter's language started to remind me of George Carlin's routine called The Seven Words You Can't Say on Television. But hey, if you ever want to hear the analysis of the function of swearing in interpersonal communication - let me know. ;-)

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    3. I tried that charging the boys for cuss words. It didn't work out that well for me. They just paid and kept on cursing. For the most part I haven't had a problem with Darian. He will utter a cuss word once in awhile but never the F bomb. I'd probably smack his mouth! Harley doesn't use any curse words at all.

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  6. Sounds great! I'll add it to my TBR.

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    1. You will like it Kwiz. We like many of the same books!

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  7. What a timely review, Paula! Sure and I suppose many of the 9/11 widows/widowers have moved onto other relationships -- that's probably healthy -- but I've trouble imagining the mixed emotions their parents and siblings must feel.
    I know, I know ... just read the book, Myra! :)

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    1. Heck Myra I am so dense that I didn't even think of it's timeliness! It would be hard for me as a mother to let a daughter-in-law move on, I think. But it would be healthy for her to do so.

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  8. Nope, not heard of either book before. There is a time when the f-bomb can be overused. The more it's used, it loses its punch.

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    1. Totally agree! It has been so overused that I hardly even flinch when I hear it anymore. But when it is every other word a person is using I tend to quit listening to ANYTHING that person is saying! Same for movies, same for books!

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I love to hear what you might think. Leave me a comment. I guarantee though that I will delete your comment if you are just here to cause trouble. So tread lightly!