The silent voices in a cemetery speak volumes to Elijah Rake as he speaks to each one and memories flood back to the tragic day he lost his father. On this day we learn that there are sons who’ve never known their fathers. There are sons who have lived and not had fathers. Fatherless dons have always lived and died, fathering their own, never knowing what it would have been like to be sons of their living fathers. Elijah Rake lost his father, Gene at age 9. Now he felt he was no longer a son anymore. He became a man. He learned this and Saw his role as a man when Gene was laid in his final resting place. Take the journey with him through the cemetery and meet his paternal great-grandparents, Semilda Arminda and William Techumseh. They had 10 children 8 boys and 2 girls. Continuing we meet Jacob Sclarp, her first husband who was buried on top of the hill. Twelve years after her and William’s death came Gene, Floyd and Edna and more Rakes. Speaking the names of each person named on each gravestone, Elijah stops at his father’s. The mist of the morning and the solemn feeling and the stillness of the cemetery lingered within him. 31 in all s prime number. Losing his father over 40 years ago still saddens him as the author takes us back to where it all began. Simple stones, plain in character each person buried in the family’s funeral plain.
As Elijah tells the story and we get to know Gene and Delia his mother we see the reason for his distance at times as she is cold, demanding and has little or no warmth with him or her children. Taking us back in time we get to know Floyd and Edna, Lincoln and Minerva, uncles and aunts and the love he felt for all of them. Reliving the moment his father skydove for the last time and seeing his plane go up in smoke would be impeded in his mind never to fade. His mother was heartbroken yet you wonder just how much she cared her sadness comes through but Elijah seems hit the hardest. With his uncle and aunts plus his grandparents we see him endure the funeral as part one ends with his father’s friend Jammy Strong telling him; it’ll be all right. Yet all he wanted to do is scorns cry because it’s not all right and he’d never hear his father’s voice again.
Jammy takes us back to meet all of the men who joined the skydiving group and each one had their own story. We learn what Gene started his business and how it impacted his life. His wife did not like the fact that he wanted to buy his grandmother’s farm and Elijah feels and speaks the words saying he might’ve taken care of the farm and still be alive which set him more apart from his mother. Jammy’s story is informative and then we learn more about Floyd and his time in Korea and what he endured until he comes home and he voices how the war change Lincoln.
Lincoln is brash, tough and colorful but when his mother is terminally ill he comes home, leaves his family and does not leave her side. Losing Edna hit him and his father, Floyd the hardest and when Edna stays outside one night and some bright lights hit her, we wonder if she might have made it longer if she had remained inside. Her final words were: I wanna go home: Lincoln takes matters into his own hands to comply with her wishes and the end result you have to read for yourself to decide if you agree with what the police did. But, the end of part three will shock readers as the author creates a scene that is unexpected.
Part three we get to know Lincoln and he’s colorful and seriously in his own zone and meeting Kay the story behind their romance is hilarious. Then Floyd is next and we get to know more about him and his relationship with Edna and dealing with her death and asking Elijah to look after things while he’s gone to visit. Elijah’s mom but tragedy strikes again.
Floyd is gone and Lincoln and Naomi are in different places where she had resorted to taking to her bed and depression and where is Lincoln? This family is close yet sushi at times and Elijah seems to be the cement to keep them together and now he has Hannah.
A story about family love, loyalty, tragic lives, sadness, joy, trust, hope and One nine year old named Elijah whose journey we all take and grow to admire as the man he finally becomes.
The final chapters tell us more about Lincoln and his way of thinking as he loves his family, explores life in a frivolous manner and is loyal to no one at times but himself. When Floyd is going to be laid in his final resting place, the woman he has been living with learns the harsh realities of living and dealing with him as his family’s loyalties and trust shines through. The narrator shares the moments when Elijah and Hannah take their vows and hope to rebuild and dying family’s legacy as some endings hope for new beginnings as the final words and the final scene will bring tears to the reader’s eyes as author Michael Dean Kiggans created a story about a family whose ties were close, whose love for each other went beyond the boundaries of most and one man named Elijah who just wanted it never to end. The story makes readers cherish life, live it to the fullest and honor and cherish the memories of those in their families that are living in their own Funeral Plain. A story that begins with loss and takes you to a cemetery to see the markers of the family members that you get to know in depth when reading their story and learning about their lives. It’s a story about a family whose love for each other went beyond that of most families and Elijah Rake who never quite got over his father’s death and just wanted to make sure that the memories of all those gone would never be forgotten by those that were left behind. It’s about the heartfelt family named RAKE.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine/MJ network