Family dynamics and three generations are at the heart of this novel. Robert, the grandfather and now 72, Oliver his son and going through a midlife crisis trying to redefine his life and his marriage and Jonah the son and grandson about to begin a new journey of his own. Each one will redefine these lives, the grandfather will try and make up for the lost times he did not share with his son, Jonah will understand the true meaning of DAD. Within this novel Oliver reveals his inner most frustrations with Ginny and their frequent fights that seem to center around passing off the responsibility for their marriage being tense. Even a special vacation that was supposed to bring them closer at times it did, but it created an even bigger rift. Wanting her to come to counseling with him opened old wounds that she did not want to really share. While Layla their daughter was in a foreign country on a Fulbright Scholarship as a teacher’s assistant and not hearing from her for a while draws them some concern. Jonah is home alone but is he or does he have company that will change his life forever.
Each one will face their own crisis but Robert his mortality as he tries to make up for many years with Oliver and the years he did not allow himself to put his son first before all else. Oliver needs to face his own harsh realities about his marriage, his children and his relationships with them and his job and lack of luster and desire to even pursue what his job entails. Different cycles in his life will define Robert’s before the final words as a dad and leaves an everlasting mark and impact on his family. The definitions of Dad are given by both Robert and Oliver in their own ways and Jonah needs to hear and understand the true meaning as he and Melissa begin their own journey into parenthood. As Jonah must find his way Robert laces into Oliver in his own way explaining that enabling him and not making him more responsible and independent would not help teach him how to be an adult in the future. Oliver had other issues and that was to prepare himself for how to deal with the distance between him and his wife Ginny and would they ever be as one again?
Robert in the hospital just biding his time request that his family continue with their annual fund raiser would they all come together and fine the right comedians, get raffle prizes and more to succeed their goals and helping others. Jonah loves video games and wants to get into the gaming industry, but will anyone hire him a reviewer? He dreams about having this as a career will he finally face up to his responsibilities as a soon to be parent and find his way to support them?
Author Steven Manchester allows us to understand the emotional upheavals of both father and son and their relationship told to us by a third person narrative to help readers understand their pasts, histories and times gone by. Oliver faces many crossroads and so does his father, and so do his father the glue that has kept them all together, straightforward, tough and yet filled with heartfelt love and pride in his family. Both Robert and Oliver come a long way as the story unfolds from start to finish overcoming both obstacles in his marriage, his feelings and relationship with his father, wife, and children and a job that he has only to support them. this is a powerful story. Three men id different stages of their lives fighting their own personal demons, conflicts and triumphs in their own ways as Robert comes to understand that his final days are here and we hear his words in a letter to Oliver that will states how proud he was and is of him as a man, parent, son and more. The most heartbreaking and emotional path you can ever experience is when you realize the person who taught you values, to be strong, kind and caring and to make a difference in your life and that of others is on their next journey to the next life hoping you will carry their words and love in your heart forever.
Being a grandparent might change it all for Oliver but first he has to focus on the fact that his father is terminally ill, needs to come to terms with his final days and tell him how he feels about him as author shares through Robert these inspirational words: The one person you can never expect from is yourself so make sure you keep a good attitude. I think that everyone needs to remember that today. The people you surround yourself with will help you define your life. So powerful and true!
Added in we remember and cannot forget Layla who is finding her own path to become a teacher, but will she remain Montenegro or come home to America. Either way her goals will be met because she is enthusiastic about working with children. Looking through the eyes of both Oliver and Robert the reader gets hot sees, feel and hear their innermost thoughts, feeling of love, anger, resentment and fear. As Oliver must rebuild a torn and tattered relationship with Ginny and Jonah must come to terms with becoming an adult. Sad as the story might seem it is heartfelt, filled with love, emotional difficulties and an author who reminds us of the true meaning of family love, loyalty, guidance and hope.
Three men in various stages of their lives fighting their own personal defeats, conflicts and triumphs in their own ways as Roberts final words to Oliver in a letter will remain with him as a reminder of how proud he was if him as a child , young adult, parent and son. The most heartbreaking and emotional path you can ever experience is when you realize the person who taught you to be strong, kind, caring and make a positive difference in your life and others is leaving on their journey to the next life hoping you will carry their words and love in your heart forever. Reading his father’s history when going through his papers he learns more about his time in the service and begins to understand his father’s goals and values more. The final letter on page 226 will bring tears to your eyes as a father could apologize for his wrongs but yet he did a lifetime of right.
The ending will inspire all parents and help you to understand the importance of guidance, caring and being a parent and to Robert, Oliver and Jonah they define the true meaning of DAD!
Fran Lewis: Just reviews