ISBN #: 978-1611880670
Page Count: 272
Copyright: June 18, 2013
Publisher: The Story Plant
(Taken from back cover)
Memories are the ultimate contradiction. They can warm us on our coldest days - or they can freeze a loved one out of our lives forever. The McCarthy family has a trove of warm memories. Of innocent first kisses. Of sumptuous family meals. Of wondrous lessons learned at the foot of a rocking chair. But they also have had their share of icy ones. Of words that can never be unsaid. Of choices that can never be unmade. Of actions that can never be undone.
Following the death of his beloved wife, John McCarthy - Grandpa John - calls his family back home. It is time for them to face the memories they have made, both warm and cold. Only them can they move beyond them and into the future.
A rich portrait of a family at a crossroad, The Rockin' Chair is Steven Manchester's most heartfelt and emotionally engaging novel to date. If family matters to you, it is a story you must read.
The McCarthy family, like most families, has grown and gone their own ways. Devoted to his life-long love, Alice, Grandpa John watches as he slowly loses his beloved "Squaw" to Alzheimer's. Thinking over his past, he realizes that more than memories have been damaged over the years, and he sends letters to his grandchildren to return home before it's too late.
I'm not sure I have ever read a more heart-warming, yet eye-opening story. Grandpa John holds so much insight into life and how things work, yet, like a lot of men, struggles to embrace the very emotions that hold families together. Reading The Rockin' Chair took me back to my childhood in the country, to a slower pace and a lifetime of memories of those I love most. It also reminded me of the tough exterior of a father that loved me the best he knew how, yet never with the words or actions (I thought) I needed.
Several excerpts left me reeling with their truth:
The elderly should be envied, he decided ... Even Alice ... even though she can't recall a minute of it, that ol' girl's loves are still loved, her dreams realized, deeds done, sufferings endured and meanings of life fulfilled, John thought. Disease or no disease, her life's like money in the bank.
Mr. Manchester gives a wonderful testament to life's worth.
Then, when speaking with his grandson, John imparts:
"... you came from folks who was dirt poor and not so schooled. Ever since you was young, you dreamt of runnin' from all of it. First chance you got, you did ... but you forgot where you came from, boy. You forget who you were and those that loved ya deep. I reckon just on principle that's what's caused a good heap of the pain in that big heart of yours ... You see, even though you felt lonely ... you was never alone."
The Rockin' Chair takes the reader into the deepest, saddest remains of a family and gives you hope that forgiveness and love can still conquer all. This story will remain with me, with any hope, reminding me of what true inheritance means.
5 out of 5 stars.
*A physical copy of this book was provided via the tour host in exchange for an honest review for this tour.