Contemporary/Literary · Read-Reviewed-2020

Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane. (2019).

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Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane. (2019).

**3 out of 5 stars**

The Gleesons live in Gillam, upstate New York. The Stanhopes are their new neighbours. Lonely Lena Gleeson wants a friend but Anne Stanhope (cold, elegant, unstable) wants to be left alone. But their children – Lena’s youngest, Kate, and Anne’s only child, Peter – find their way to each other and form a friendship. That friendship and love will almost be broken by the line dividing the families, and a terrible tragedy. A tragedy whose true origins only become clear many years later…

This novel was a Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Fiction in 2019, so you know immediately that LOADS of people rate this book highly. For me this is one that didn’t live up to the hype and I found it fairly average. I can see how the themes of love, redemption, forgiveness etc would make people really appreciate this story. I think it shines a spotlight on untreated mental illness as well as the ongoing consequences for the next generation because of things the previous generation did/decided. I just found the story a bit slow, and a bit depressing really. It was nice that the author highlighted that love and forgiveness can heal, but I felt like there was this underlying message of assumption, along the lines of if your dad is an alcoholic you probably will be too. Regardless if that’s true or not, it’s a bleak concept to me and not something I’m looking for when I’m reading for enjoyment. Perhaps I misinterpreted that message but that’s how it came across to me and this is my opinion after all haha. I do think the book was written pretty well and would probably work well as a movie.
Overall, I liked this book well enough but it was not overly for me however I can see why others really enjoyed.

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