Author: Chad Gayle

ISBN: 978-0-9886610-0-4

What I like about this book:

First, I like the author’s flawless writing and his beautiful, sentimental take of the songs. I haven’t read any of Chad Gayle’s poetry, but safe to say his poetry has got to be a wonderful play of words.

Second, is how this novel is told from several perspectives. It is opened by Pam, who reminisces that her younger brother Joseph one summer long ago nearly killed a man. Next Joseph narrates the story as a ten-year-old boy who refuses to accept his parents’ divorce, followed by a narration by Michelle who is determined to be independent, but her ex-husband Bill want her back. Joseph wants his parents to make up and contrives to make this happen as Michelle struggles with the challenges of a new job and juggling it with her teenage children’s behavioral issues. The next narrators are Dan, her co-worker who loves her, and Bill, who is plotting to get her back. The author convincingly narrates the working of each of their minds.

Third, I like how the characters are well thought-out. The grownups and the kids could have been your next-door neighbors or your co-workers. Pam is a real teen, Joseph is the kid with issues, Bill the typical guy that frequently causes the police to receive domestic-violence related phone calls. Michelle with her habits and internal struggles is a well developed character. 

Fourth, I like that this is only a fiction. Because otherwise Michelle’s final decision is downright wrong in several fundamental levels:

-       Theologically, man and woman have been blessed with so much beauty and pleasure in their relationship as the incentives and rewards for their hardships in continuing the creation process; or else bringing up kids is an endless chain of botheration after botheration that nobody would want to take up. Here the author punishes Michelle with a lifetime of hardships with no personal rewards during the long years while the kids are growing, and none afterwards either. Mothers are naturally very involved in their growing children, but a heads up, come menopause time women strongly need a sense of achievement besides being mothers, and this is the time when most can’t help themselves that they need full support and love from their husbands—which Michelle is unnaturally deprived of.

-       Heaven starts in this very life and good companionship is one of the best rewards a person can get; and if one partner tortures you, he/she will be replaced with a better person. Michelle's sacrifice is pointless as the right partner would have been a great support in caring for the kids, besides being a positive influence and a good role model for them. Someone should have dragged Michelle to see a counselor to help open her eyes. 

-      What is she teaching her kids? That it is okay for a person to become a victim of violence for his good deeds? And to be abandoned afterwards? All the kids see is a man beaten up for being good, and then this man has to lose what he’s stood up for in the aftermath.  If all you get for being good is pain and heartbreak, would that instill in the kids the wish to act with love and kindness towards the oppressed? Would that motivate them to reward good deeds? Couldn’t Michelle have shown them a good example of justice, that Dan’s love should be rewarded with equal love, and that he deserves their respect instead of inflicting him with more pain?

I received this book in the mail in late May, but I wish it had been earlier in the manuscript stage so I could’ve had a chat with Chad. Oh wait, it’s only a fiction. It has beautiful and sentimental word plays, so yes, enjoy that, and remember it’s a fiction.

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