The Rockin’ Chair
written by Steven Manchester
published by The Story Plant
Why did I pick this book: I was asked by the author to review this book. (I received a copy of this book for review purposes.)
Did I enjoy this book: Yes, very much.
The Rockin’ Chair is very much a book about characters. Steven Manchester does a brilliant job developing each of his characters into relatable, relevant, modern Americans. As a reader, I found myself fully invested in each character’s outcome.
I’m often critical of stories that are completely about internal struggles and relationships. I’m that reader who says, “This book needs a good car crash, at least one shoot out, blah, blah, blah . . . “
But not this novel, the battles they face and wounds they strive to heal are as spellbinding as any action packed war story, murder mystery, or thriller. John McCarthy is the patriarch of a growing family on a Montana farm. The emotionally disconnected brood returns to the nest only when obliged to attend the funeral of their beloved mother/grandmother/great-
John looks at his family during his wife’s funeral and for the first time sees the rotting family tree, rooted in misunderstandings and words left unsaid. During his epiphany at the funeral, John realizes that, “In the end, all we have is our memories . . . good or bad . . . and your attitude will decide which.” He promises his wife that he won’t join her until he’s repaired the damage he sees.
I don’t want to tell any more of the story but I suggest you to have your tissues handy.
Would I recommend it: Yes. I think this would make a great book club discussion story.
Will I read it again: Probably not.
About the book: Memories are the ultimate contradiction. They can warm us on our coldest days or they can freeze a loved one out of our lives forever. The McCarthy family has a trove of warm memories. Of innocent first kisses. Of sumptuous family meals. Of wondrous lessons learned at the foot of a rocking chair. But they also have had their share of icy ones. Of words that can never be unsaid. Of choices that can never be unmade. Of actions that can never be undone.
Following the death of his beloved wife, John McCarthy Grandpa John calls his family back home. It is time for them to face the memories they have made, both warm and cold. Only then can they move beyond them and into the future.
A rich portrait of a family at a crossroad, The Rockin’ Chair is Steven Manchester’s most heartfelt and emotionally engaging novel to date. If family matters to you, it is a story you must read.
About the author: Steven Manchester is the published author of the #1 best seller, Twelve Months, as well as A Christmas Wish (the holiday prequel to Goodnight, Brian) and Goodnight, Brian. He is also the Pressed Pennies, The Unexpected Storm: The Gulf War Legacy and Jacob Evans, as well as several books under the pseudonym, Steven Herberts. His work has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s The Early Show, CNN’s American Morning and BET’s Nightly News. Recently, three of his short stories were selected “101 Best” for Chicken Soup for the Soul series.