Author: Steven Manchester
Publisher: The Story Plant
Published: June 25, 2013
Source: Received from the publisher
in exchange for an honest review
Read: September 23, 2013
In A Few Words: Poignant
My Rating: 5 Stars
Goodreads: Add This To Your To-Read Shelf
Memories are the ultimate contradiction. They can warm us on our coldest days or they can freeze a loved one out of our lives forever. The McCarthy family has a trove of warm memories. Of innocent first kisses. Of sumptuous family meals. Of wondrous lessons learned at the foot of a rocking chair. But they also have had their share of icy ones. Of words that can never be unsaid. Of choices that can never be unmade. Of actions that can never be undone.
Following the death of his beloved wife, John McCarthy Grandpa John calls his family back home. It is time for them to face the memories they have made, both warm and cold. Only then can they move beyond them and into the future.
A rich portrait of a family at a crossroad, THE ROCKIN' CHAIR is Steven Manchester’s most heartfelt and emotionally engaging novel to date. If family matters to you, it is a story you must read
This is the 2nd book I've read by Steven Manchester. His first, Twelve Months, pulled me in from the very first page. The Rockin' Chair is no different. I don't know quite how he does it, but Manchester manages to create a world that the reader is immediately pulled into from the very first sentence. I settled in instantly, already feeling at home with the family from the start.
This book deals with some tough issues.
At the forefront, we have John, the family patriarch. He's a beloved grandfather, a father, a hard worker, a devoted husband. We watch as he struggles with watching his wife Alice lose her memories to Alzheimers.
The relatioship between Alice and John is beautiful. The kind that most of us dream to have. Where someone loves us so much that they will take care of us through anything, no matter how difficult life gets.
Upon Alice's death he calls his family back to his farm in Montana. We watch as he pieces the family back together again, using memories. Some lighthearted and positive, some not so happy. He helps his grandchildren deal with some of their inner demons.
Evan ran away from the farm, eager to get away from his abusive father and small town life. He was hoping to settle down with a girl who he thought he loved, who only turned around to break his heart by cheating on him. George, a war veteran whose time at war caused him to make some decisions that he wasn't proud of, is still fighting, even though he's returned home. Only now he's fighting to come to peace with himself. And Tara, who left for New York hoping to make it big, only to fall to the temptation of drugs and alcohol, who knows she needs to change her ways for her young daughter.
It's an emotional journey as you read on to discover how John manages to help each one of his family members. Painful as it is to relive some of these memories that John helps each family member recall, there are lessons in each of them. He even manages to bring some peace and redemption to himself, and repair his relationship with his son Hank.
The rocking chair that the story's title comes from is a central part of the story. It has an intimate significance to the bond that the family shares. The idea of a rocking chair holds different memories and ideals for each of the characters throughout the story. One thing I've noticed is that each of Manchester's recent books features a chair/chairs on the cover.
This book had me in tears several times over the course of reading it. I devoured it in a few hours. Even though the story was resolved well, it still left me wanting more. I can't wait more from this talented author.