Reviewed by: Pete Barber
Genre: General Fiction/Metaphysical
Approximate word count:
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The story examines the lives of a group of folk living in a nursing home. All are elderly except for a mentally challenged young man in his forties who is institutionalized, and who brings to them, with his simplicity of mind—hope.
I think this story would appeal more to older people (like me) or to those with experience working in a nursing home or institution, because the novel is more interesting if one can relate, and younger readers probably won’t. In saying that, this was a very interesting read that I enjoyed a lot.
The writing style is unusual. The author uses short, simple sentences, which match well to the repetitive and overly restrictive existence of the residents.
Last names create a caricature feel—Ms. Steal, Ms. Sly, Grace Brethern (religious), Mr. Mouse, Mr. Dry (the facility manager) and also connote, to an extent, their personalities.
The author does a nice job highlighting many of the challenges facing both the staff and the residents of the institution, without ever preaching a particular position. A tough line to walk, but done with aplomb.
The ending would be surprising if it hadn’t been constantly telegraphed throughout the story. Nevertheless, it is bitter sweet.
Rating: **** Four stars