Tag Archives: Family

Review: Benediction


By Kent Haruf
(Knopf, Hardcover, 9780307959881, Feb 2013, 272pp.)

The Short of It:

A large, yet quiet novel on life and death.

The Rest of It:

This is probably one of the hardest reviews I’ve ever written for this blog because this book was both huge (on many levels) but at the same time almost too quiet for me to even remark on.

The story takes place in the fictional town of Holt, Colorado. Dad Lewis is 77-years-old and has just been diagnosed with cancer. He hasn’t much time left, so his wife Mary is tasked with keeping him comfortable. On the surface, she handles this news the way any good wife would but when she faints from stress and ends up in the hospital for a few days, Dad Lewis is left to fend for himself. During this time, he is looked in on by the neighbor across the way and her young granddaughter. The girl, only 6-years-old is curious about him but also scared of someone as old at him. Especially someone who is dying. But Dad Lewis takes a liking to her. Perhaps it’s her wide-eyed innocence or that she reminds him of his own kids. Nevertheless, he welcomes her visits.

Once Mary is released from the hospital, their daughter Lorraine comes to help but the absence of the estranged son Frank, is felt by everyone, most notably Dad Lewis. Frank’s homosexuality proved to be too much for Dad Lewis to accept but as his days dwindle, Dad Lewis regrets his past actions, only to realize that it’s too late to do anything about them. His emotional pain is most evident during his quiet conversations with the young girl.

There are other players in this story but I was most interested in Dad Lewis and his immediate family. A man coming to terms with his own death is a pretty heavy topic. It’s both sad and enlightening, heartfelt but lonely. As a reader, it’s easy to get caught-up in the day-to-day aspects of pain management, the intake of food, etc. But in between the minutiae, is the fact that this man is spending his last hours appreciating what he has but also regretting what he lost. The loss of time is tragic and it leaves you with a heavy heart, to say the least.

I recommend this book to anyone who has ever questioned their past actions. It’s definitely a book that will make you think and the writing, is at times, breathtakingly beautiful.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

The Sunday Salon: Photos!

Sunday Salon

As you know, my kids were in a recent production of The Music Man. Some of you have asked for pics and although I am not allowed to snap pics backstage, I did manage to sneak a few in. Shhhh.

The Girl from River City

"Marcellus" & the River City Girl

Bakstage Pep Talk

Me and the Fam After the Show
Extended Family and Friends After the Show

We are a rag-tag group, are we not? No one in the Fam lets me take pictures so they are always rushed and everyone is always confused. Do I stand here? Am I supposed to be in this one? What are we doing right now? That last family pic has the following people in it, in case you are curious: (left to right) my one FIL, my nephew and his lovely wife, The Hub, The Girl, my MIL, The Boy, my other FIL, my SIL, my BIL, and two dear friends of the family.

Yep. Utter confusion. That is why we always look like an ant hill that just got stepped on. I REALLY wanted to get a photo of my daughter in her majorette costume but I was so sick at the time, it didn’t occur to me to try. The Boy also had so many different costumes that I never got to snap. Oh well!

Now for the Winter Formal pic. The ONLY pic I have because The Boy had a fever and he was not feeling well. You guessed it, he wouldn’t let me take any. All I have is this one professional pic taken at the dance.

Winter Formal 2013
They look great though, don’t they?

As for today, it’s gorgeous out and we are going to spend the day watching movies. I have Flight from Netflix and then we have been on a James Bond kick so we may watch one of those movies too. For dinner, possibly steaks on the grill. Maybe Carne Asada tacos. Haven’t decided but whatever it is, it will be grilled outdoors in this beautiful weather. Oh! I just remembered that The Girl has a birthday party right around dinner time. Hmmm. Will have to figure that one out.

Reading? I am reading Is This Tomorrow by Caroline Leavitt and I started The Adults by Alison Espach. What are you doing today?