Thursday, April 16, 2015

{Review} SMALL MERCIES by Eddie Joyce

ISBN #: 978-0525427292
Page Count: 368
Copyright: March 10, 2015
Publisher: Viking

(Taken from book flap)

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.

Charlene's Review:

Small Mercies is a haunting story of a family in the aftermath of the loss of Bobby, their son/brother/spouse, on 9/11. Mr. Joyce paints a picture with his words: A picture of life before, and life after. 10 years later, Bobby’s widow announces to his mother, Gail, that she has met a new love, and Gail must find a way to tell the family, all of whom are still grieving.

With the focus on the family, instead of the terror attack, this is a new twist on a fateful day. Perhaps the most humbling of all. When the cameras faded and the stories died, the families were left to find a new normal. Small Mercies is a look at the reality of survivors of 9/11 and how they must learn to live as the casualties of an act that took America’s innocence. The guilt of the family "business" , the unspoken words, the wishful thinking, and the unspeakable grief of a mother are all demonstrated in a heart-wrenching novel full of real, raw emotion. The true beauty of this story is the flawed, hurting characters that cling desperately to each other, every bit as much as they suffer alone.

I have read many books on the subject of 9/11 and Small Mercies is one of the best, as it reflects not on the horror and destruction of that day, but the ability of the human spirit to rise from the ashes.

5 out of 5 stars!

*A hardcopy of this novel was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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