Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

The book opens in early 70s with two rookie cops in NYPD— Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope—first friends and then neighbours in a suburb. Despite being next door neighbours, they never get closer. It’s a beautiful and affecting story of the friendship and love between Francis and Lena’s daughter, Kate, and Brian and Anne’s son, Peter. One night, when Anne shot Francis, the lives of the two families are jeopardised.

In each chapter, different narrator told the story of their own and presented the various perspectives. The story elongated till current days telling how the past have so much effect on the present. As the story evolved, it covered multiple issues like mental disorder, alcohol addiction, depression, forgiveness etc. Interlaced these issues to the stories from childhood to adulthood of Peter and Kate, it was a thrilling ride to read how they have become.

It was so gripping and impossible to put down right since chapter one. Although told from a number of narrative perspectives, Keane brilliantly portrayed the voices of burdened adult and confused children. Keane approached the subjects like mental illness and acceptance in an exquisite way then she reminded the power of forgiveness with a subtle touch.

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