Albert takes her characters even further away from your standard white male could be mistaken for straight romcom lead. We have Brady, the bisexual barista taking care of his four siblings after his parents untimely deaths, and Ev, the yarn store owner’s dedicated nephew who has come back to Portland because she’s dying of cancer who was originally sent from his home in Turkey because he was caught making out with a male friend.
Talk about a gut punch—I knew going in this one was going to be brutal, I mean it’s right there in the full title: Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies, but I was not expecting to cry as much as I did. I’m not talking about a single tear escaping as I gaze wistfully into the distance. I’m talking snot running down my face, holding back sobs, and generally making people uncomfortable around me as I read it.
Yup, you read that right. I didn’t hole in up in my room or stay at home to read this, even with the very clear warning on the cover. I read it in public, on a cruise ship on the way to the Caribbean. Smart right? The timing wasn’t the greatest, but it came in at the library and I’ve been waiting to read it since it appeared on Towleroad, so I figured I would plow through it and I did. I got a chapter or two read on the plane after reading Don’t Be Cruel (#3 & #4) and then blazed through this, snot, tears and all, while laying out by the pool on the ship.
I feel like reading this after having read the entire Word & Void trilogy is what people who read Go Set A Watchmen after having loved and read To Kill A Mockingbird. (On a smaller scale, obviously.)
Brooks wrote this novel back in the early ’90s as part of a short story collection. It was re-released as a single e-book in honor of a friend who had cancer with all proceeds for the first 90 days of sale going to that friend for his medical bills.
I’m glad I read this novella/short story as it was a great little encapsulated tale which shows one of the magical characters, Pick, of Word & Void fame, at an earlier time than the actual trilogy. The story revolves around 12-year-old Jack McCall who is given a cancer diagnosis. And in essence it serves as an exterior battle/response to that diagnosis.
After starting Love Comes Home and falling in love with the characters and writing of Andrew Grey, I started to research him (and Dreamspinner Press) and quickly found it was the third in a series titled Senses. I immediately reached out to his publicist to see if they would provide copies of the first two, Love Comes Silently and Love Comes In Darkness to review and they did! This is my honest opinion of the book and I received no compensation.
Love Comes Silently is the story of Hannah, Ken and Patrick. A doctor diagnoses Hannah in the prologue with cancer, after she and her father, Ken, recently moved to Michigan. Patrick, a neighbor dealing with his own inner demons, slowly becomes a major part of their lives and this is their story. Now we all know I’m a sap, but this novel (and Grey’s amazing intuition with story line placement) really got to me. I found myself crying on three separate occasions.
I need to stop saying I don’t like nonfiction and start saying I enjoy immersive nonfiction. It seems the majority of nonfiction works that I do like are those that delve deeper into societal issues from a different perspective, like The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
This was a fascinating read and it constantly reminded me of an updated (more micro-focused) version of Stephen Jay Gould’s The Mismeasure of Man in which he discusses and shows the errors of many scientists whose procedures created ultimately racist data. If you enjoyed Skloot’s work you should definitely check out Gould’s, although it’s not as much about the personal stories behind the family and behind Skloot’s interest in this subject which makes Skloot’s work more approachable to the general public.