Tuesday, June 5, 2012

You Came Back: A Novel by Christopher Coake

Quoted form the author's website: Thirty-something midwesterner Mark Fife believes he has successfully moved past the accidental death of his young son Brendan, as well as his subsequent divorce from his college sweetheart Chloe. He’s successful, he’s in love again, and he believes he’s mastered his own memories.But then he is contacted by a strange woman who tells him not only that she owns his old house, but that she believes it to be haunted by Brendan’s ghost. Will Mark–who does not believe in ghosts–come to accept the mounting evidence that Brendan’s is real? Will his engagement to his new love Allison be threatened by the reappearance in Mark’s life of Chloe–who does believe? If the ghost is real, what can these two wounded parents do to help their son? 

Do you believe in life after death, heaven or ghosts? This is a heart wrenching story of the loss of a child and death of a family. Normally, this is the type of book that I would avoid. I don't consider stories with dead or dying children to be much of an entertainment. They just make me sad. However, I was intrigued by the possibility of the child returning as a ghost.

The story examines the question of life after death and really addresses has some thought provoking concepts. It also examines the grieving process and it's affect on those left behind. I think that this might be a great book for a book club to read and discuss. There are many different theories that could inspire some very stimulating discussions.

There is, of course, so much sadness throughout the novel. The feeling can be very dark and depressing. Any time I find myself skimming pages, something is wrong. I was skimming. To be fair, I only skimmed a few parts. With some good editing, it might have kept my interest. It is a fine line to walk, since the grieving process is a main theme and cutting too much or the wrong parts, could lead to less empathy with the characters and the story could loose it's impact. Ultimately, this is a very small complaint and shouldn't discourage anyone from reading this book.

Overall, the author did a great job with a really difficult subject. I felt the depression that the father suffered through and the craziness of the Mother seemed totally rational at times. The secondary characters were interesting and well rounded. They added more depth to the story and each was affected differently by the death. The ending is bittersweet, but it did leave me feeling some hope for at least one of the characters.   


emaginette said...

Sounds like a reader could taste depression and visit the land of the insane. Not too bad, if you want to go there.

With the world the way it is now, I can do the same thing by walking out my front door. I need happy, happy books or books that distract me. :-)

Glenna said...

I agree with you, but I have to say it did leave me with a feeling of hope at the end- : )