Release Date: January 5, 2016
Format: MP3 Audio
Pages: 320 (Hardudio Length: Approx 10.5 hours
Narrator: Peter Berkrot
Source: HighBridge Company
Genre: Fiction, Literary Fiction
Review Date: June 15, 2016
Rating: 3 bookmarks
Synopsis: Welcome to Spencerville, Virginia, 1977. Eight-year-old Rocky worships his older brother, Paul. Sixteen and full of rebel cool, Paul spends his days cruising in his Chevy Nova blasting Neil Young, cigarette dangling from his lips, arm slung around his beautiful, troubled girlfriend. Paul is happy to have his younger brother as his sidekick. Then one day, in an act of vengeance against their father, Paul picks up Rocky from school and nearly abandons him in the woods. Afterward, Paul disappears.
Seven years later, Rocky is a teenager himself. He hasn’t forgotten being abandoned by his boyhood hero, but he’s getting over it, with the help of the wealthy neighbors’ daughter, ten years his senior, who has taken him as her lover. Unbeknownst to both of them, their affair will set in motion a course of events that rains catastrophe on both their families. After a mysterious double murder brings terror and suspicion to their small town, Rocky and his family must reckon with the past and find out how much forgiveness their hearts can hold.
Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.
At age 8 , Rocky is a sweet young boy idolizing his older brother while they sit in his room listening to music. I couldn't help but love Rocky who doesn't think of his half brother Paul, age 16, as a half brother, but as his brother. I also couldn't help but feel for Paul even as he betrays his young brother to get back at their father. Rocky and Paul have a unique sibling relationship and that's partially thanks to their parents.
In a split-second, this book goes from being what seems a common coming-of-age story to a murder mystery. I wasn't sure how I felt about the changing gears, but in the end it was a good thing. It really helped to pick up the pace of the story, and it made me even more interested in the characters. I felt like I knew who the murderer was, but I didn't expect the depth of it. Not the reason behind it. There's so many facets to the story.
What I like most about the ending, is that everything was tied up. No loose ends. We essentially knew what happened to everyone, we knew other life played out in general, and we knew what happened to them in the short-term. The only disappointing thing is that tall, Rocky's older brother, never really explained where he's been during those years he was gone. Nor did he explain or apologize for nearly killing Rocky when he was a child. That was a little weird. I would have love to know what he was doing. Other than that it was a satisfying into a good story. We got to see that even though he had a rough time of things when he was younger, but he did end up in a good space. He had a good life, with a good family of his own.
Rocky and Paul both had good things happen to them after all of the drama of the "murder house". After all of the family issues and ups and downs, it was refreshing to see that things can work out after all. Another noticeable change in the story occurs at the very end and things got philosophical in the last few chapters. The author got into this mode of expressing the importance of history. How without that history, good or bad, you wouldn't be the person you are today. You wouldn't have the life you have today. So while love is the only thing that can break your heart, it's worth it.
One thing that did bother me, was the incessant smoking throughout the book. It seemed like every moment someone was lighting a cigarette, smoking cigarette, putting out a cigarette, buying cigarettes, etc. I fully understand that this was the late 70's, 80's, and then later, but the amount of smoking was unnecessary. Maybe it caught my attention because I'm a non-smoker. Regardless, it seemed like overkill.
The audiobook narrator, Peter Berkrot, is also new to me. He did a great job and really added value to the story. Listening to this during my long drive to Book Expo America in Chicago and back was a great way to pass this time. I'm happy that I was able to get my hands on this book in the audiobook format. I recommend listening to it. If you enjoy books about family and relationships, then this book is worth checking out.
Happy Reading & Listening,