Ask Again, Yes: A story of families, neighbors, love, and a connecting tragedy
Next door neighbors, both dads are cops. A lonely wife, an unstable wife. A boy and girl who grow up as best friends which turns into more. Tragedy strikes and the families are forever changed. Can love and forgiveness triumph?
Ask Again, Yes, Mary Beth Keane
Genre: General Fiction
Published 2019, 390 pages
"The thing is, Peter, grown-ups don't know what they're doing any better than kids do. That's the truth."
This book is outstanding. Keane writes so very well about the complex relationships in this story - between married couples, parents and kids, before and after a tragedy, all of it. Not only does she have realistic dialog as people try to come to terms with their lives, but their internal dialogs and physical manifestations of their feelings are described so well, I can almost feel it myself. Difficult themes are explored from several angles, never with a sappy or harsh approach, but with a deft touch.
"There'd been a simple arithmetic to life, two and two equaled four. But slowly, as years went by and the kids got older, started school, she often couldn't make things compute. He was still sleeping beside her at night. They were still doing steak on Sundays, pizza on Fridays. They still walked the same routes around the house, doing the same things they'd always done, more or less, but lately she felt a poverty of something - happiness, she supposed - deep inside her ribs, the place where she used to feel her joy spill over. "
An engrossing story of young love that's broken apart by a tragedy. Even though the young couple find their way back to each other, the normal challenges of a relationship are compounded by the lack of support from friends and family as they can't get over the past events.
The long reaching effects of the tragedy are told from the perspective of the various characters and every one rings true. Mental illness plays a role, alcoholism, infidelity, this story has it all, and yet the underlying theme is love and forgiveness. While not a Pollyanna ending, it's very satisfying.
Ask Again, Yes is an excellent read and would be a strong book club pick with lots of themes to discuss. If you crave family dramas or strong character driven stories, this is definitely for you.
Does this sound like a book you would like? Have you read it yet - do you agree/disagree with me? Let me know in the comments......
photo by Terrie Purkey