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Friday, May 10, 2013

After Visiting Friends: A Son's Story

After Visiting Friends: A Son's Story by Michael Hainey drew me in with its lurid description of a story being not all it is cracked up to be. It won me over--I love a good mystery.

Michael's father died very suddenly one night when he was a small boy on the side of the road in a Chicago neighborhood. The obituaries read that he died after visiting friends--but why was he so far from home at such a late hour? His father, a newspaperman, was known to work until 2am--but where was he after this? And who were these friends? And why does the story seem to not be all there is?

Hainey's journey is a long and winding road, in a car in which he sits in the drivers seat and allows you, the reader, to tag along. He makes you the co-pilot, sometimes putting you in charge of the map but at other times relying on his inner GPS. When he suspects that there is more to the story (Hainey does, after all, take after his father--he is a journalist himself), he is relentless in hunting down clues until he can come to a solid enough conclusion about where the truth lies. It may not be pretty, but he is willing to face it--that is, as long as you, the reader, agree to not close your eyes when the truth bears it's ugly fangs. You must face the honesty with him. That's part of the deal.

I loved the passages of Hainey with his mother. He worries for so long about how his mother will handle the truth of his father's death, and therefore his life. His digging leads to a side of his father that is not pretty, but it is the truth.

I sat with this story for two days. I am thankful for the road trip.

Kindle version on left, hard copy on right.

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