Another BOTM choice I passed up (for fear it was too similar to the many other books I’d been reading at the time), I also picked this one up as a prize from my library’s summer reading club. I voted for it a few times at book club in hopes that it would become our book, but it never won, and I finally just couldn’t wait to dive in because I knew I would like it.
Ask Again, Yes
by Mary Beth Keane
Literary Fiction, Contemporary
Synopsis According to Mandi:
Without spoilers, Ask Again, Yes tells the story of two intertwining families who share a decades-long bond through their patriarchal careers, their being neighbors, their tragedies and a marriage. From their upbringings to their personalities to the events of their personal lives, the Gleesons and Stanhopes are forever tied to each other yet forever in contention given their differences and the events that unfold. Can they move on from where they’ve been? Can their children break the mold of the past? Will their children even understand their pasts as adults?
“They’d both learned that a memory is a fact that has been dyed and trimmed and rinsed so many times that it comes out looking almost unrecognizable to anyone else who was in that room or anyone who was standing on the grass beneath that telephone pole.”– Mary Beth Keane, Ask Again, Yes
Awards (based upon my brief research):
My Overall Rating:
4.5 – This was an emotional read. The events that unfolded were large enough to keep me pulled in yet believable enough to require me to remind myself that it was a novel. I read it quickly – partly because I didn’t want to put it down, partly because it reads quickly and partly because I’ve been so tired that all I want to do is read.
I loved how the author had me rooting for both families despite the fact that the families are essentially combatant throughout most of the story. I wanted the best for all of the characters… even when they were doing ridiculous things. (Come on Peter, you’re better than that!)
While the things that happened between the Stanhopes and the Gleesons have largely never happened for me, to a different degree, I think we can all relate. We all have a family, an individual, a co-worker we disagree with and have had it out with in some way or another. We’ve all had moments where we’ve had to continue in relationships we’d rather not continue in. We’ve all had a difficult situation to navigate from childhood to adulthood. We’ve all been there…
I don’t think this book is a must read, but’s definitely a good use of time if read.