It took me a while to finish Ask Again Yes but not because I wasn’t enjoying it I wanted to savor it. I would put it down at times and managed to pick up where the story left off without any confusion.
Disclaimer: this book was kindly gifted to me by Penguin Random House SA in exchange for an honest review.
How much can a family forgive?
A profoundly moving novel about two neighboring families in a suburban town, the bond between their children, a tragedy that reverberates over four decades, the daily intimacies of marriage, and the power of forgiveness.
Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope, two rookie cops in the NYPD, live next door to each other outside the city. What happens behind closed doors in both houses—the loneliness of Francis’s wife, Lena, and the instability of Brian’s wife, Anne—sets the stage for the explosive events to come.
Ask Again, Yes is a deeply affecting exploration of the lifelong friendship and love that blossoms between Francis and Lena’s daughter, Kate, and Brian and Anne’s son, Peter. Luminous, heartbreaking, and redemptive, Ask Again, Yes reveals the way childhood memories change when viewed from the distance of adulthood—villains lose their menace and those who appeared innocent seem less so. Kate and Peter’s love story, while tested by echoes from the past, is marked by tenderness, generosity, and grace.
There is something so profound about a book based on families and their drama. Its a feeling of having being let in to experience families inside those close doors and get to understand that the perfection we think we see in people’s lives might not be there. Its only an image portrayed for the outside world but everything’s else is kept only for those involved. In that point I knew I’d enjoy this book.
Ask again yes, span over decades as we get to follow the story of Kate and Peter. We follow them before they are born, how these families became neighbors, as kids, as teenagers, young adults and middle-aged. In this aspect, you get to understand each character and the way they think and you start to wonder at some point what you’d do if you were in their shoes. That’s how invested you get.
The story also deals with mental illness and Keane does an amazing job portraying the difficulties of mental illness in the 80s and 90s. The attitudes and treatments towards mental illness and how this affects other people and how far we have come in terms of dealing with mental illness and how attitudes have changed towards mental health. Even though some of these issues are still common especially in black communities as I feel mental health is still something we don’t tend to address the way we are supposed to but hopefully we’ll get there.
Keane does an amazing job conveying the complicated nature of families, loss, romance addiction, mental health and forgiveness. The romance side was just perfect and I really enjoyed it. The story overall portrays courage and resilient perfectly.
I’d really recommend this book if you love anything with family drama. The story focuses more on the effects it had on the people around Anne, but it would be interesting to read from Anne’s perspective.
Have you read it? Will you be adding this to your list? Leave us a comment in the comments section below.