Friday, May 29, 2015

Julie's Review: The Far End of Happy

Author: Kathryn Craft
Series: None
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Pages: 368
Obtained: Author Via Suzy Missirlian
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction, Crime
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: Gripping family drama that will have you quickly turning the pages to see the resolution
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Summary: Ronnie's husband is supposed to move out today. But when Jeff pulls into the driveway drunk, with a shotgun in the front seat, she realizes nothing about the day will go as planned. The next few hours spiral down in a flash, unlike the slow disintegration of their marriage-and whatever part of that painful unraveling is Ronnie's fault, not much else matters now but these moments. Her family's lives depend on the choices she will make-but is what's best for her best for everyone? Based on a real event from the author's life, The Far End of Happy is a chilling story of one troubled man, the family that loves him, and the suicide standoff that will change all of them forever.  
Review: From the moment you start reading The Far End of Happy you are waiting for the other shoe to drop. You know that the book isn't going to have a happy ending. You pretty much feel it from the opening pages of the novel but while it does have a tragic ending, part of me truly thinks that Ronnie and her boys will be ok. Will the events haunt them? Yes. Will they always remember what happened? Yes. I also believe they will move on and be happy in their lives.

The novel is told from three different POVs: Ronnie, the wife; Beverly, the mother-in-law and Janet, Jeff's mother. The one we spend the most time with is Ronnie as Jeff's wife she is the one with the most insight into her husband's frame of mine. Beverly is wrestling with a hidden secret that has affected her for the past 35+ years. She doesn't know how to deal with the current situation without dealing with the past. She also knows she needs to come clean about the past with Ronnie. As with most things we hold close to us, there is never a right time to tell someone about a secret you've kept but I still wonder about Bev's timing on this one.

Janet doesn't understand what Jeff's doing. Early on she quickly blames it all on Ronnie. Ronnie is too demanding, she expects to much from her husband. As we slowly learn Janet's story, it isn't all that happy herself. We learn things about Jeff's background that might have been incredibly important to Ronnie.

What is crystal clear to me is that women carry things on our shoulders that are too hard to bear by ourselves; yet we don't ask for help. We want to be strong for ourselves, our children, our family but we also have to know when to lean on others. Bev needed to let go of the past and to quit romanticizing a past she didn't get to live. Ronnie needed to trust her gut and to be honest with others about her life. Janet needed to learn to show love through other means than money. The only way she knew how to help Jeff was to bail him out of his problems. Except sometimes when you think you are helping, you are really hindering.

The Far End of Happy is an intense novel. It will stir up all types of feelings in you, they won't all be easy to deal with at times. Ms. Craft does an excellent job of making you feel like you are right there with Ronnie, Janet and Beverly. These characters and what they have gone through will stay with you for a long time after you close the novel.



Unknown said...

Seeing some buzz for this book, and your review is compelling!! I'm not sure where I can fit it in, but I'd like to read. Thanks Julie.

Julie said...

Just keep it in mind and when you have some free time, fit it in. 😀

Tori L. Whitaker said...

This novel is so worth reading Anita! And, yes, Julie, the story stirs up feelings that are hard to deal with. I finished the novel weeks ago and the characters have stayed with me. Kathryn Craft did an amazing job.

Great post!