Melissa’s Review: Kept In The Dark by J. Ronald M. York

Kept in the DarkKept In The Dark
written by J. Ronald M. York
published by St. Broadway Press, LLC, 2016

find it here: (affiliate links) Barnes & Noble, AmazoniBooksBook Depository, Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Did I enjoy this book: 
This book is complicated, and not just because of the subject matter. I’ll try to be succinct.

Mr. York is a brave man to shout his family’s dirty secrets so loudly, and I applaud his courage. It must be heartbreaking and frustrating to have such important questions go unanswered, and I hope writing this book gives him a bit of the peace I’m sure he’s seeking.

However.

It’s often difficult to draw the line between what you are passionate about and what makes a good story, and while I mean no disrespect to Mr. York, his family, or the people he writes about, as an avid reader I have a few concerns. This story is riveting; I know why Mr. York wanted to tell it. His delivery, though, leaves me a bit disappointed. It must have been difficult for him to sift through his parents’ letters and choose the ones he thought most pertinent, but I think York’s narrative is a much better (and more interesting) perspective for this story. I would love to see this book reworked: York’s narrative interspersed with powerful quotes from the letters rather than the bulk of the letters themselves. Barring that (and hopefully this is a problem I experienced because I was given an Advanced Reading Copy), the letters ought to at least switch fonts with each writer. It’s a more distinct difference, and it would help a lot with those of us who tend to skip over headers and chapter numbers while reading. I would also have appreciated the character description at the beginning of the book so I could easily refer back to it.

I don’t know what to say about the subject matter. I want to say it would make a great movie, but I’m afraid that’s insensitive. I want to (and don’t want to) know the details of what happened so I can draw my own conclusions. The fifties were not kind to the LGBTQ. Is this an excuse? No. Could it be an explanation? Yes. On the other hand, molesting children is never, ever, EVER okay. I don’t know, and will never know, what actually happened, and so I feel some sense of the frustration Mr. York must deal with daily. This is not a happy story, but not every good story is.

 

Would I recommend it: I honestly don’t know.

 

Melissa

 

About the book – from Goodreads: The jail was located on the top 9 floors of the Dade County Courthouse in downtown Miami. The young father could look down from the 21st floor, to the street below. His wife and child would come each night, stand on the sidewalk and wave to him. They would flash the car lights to signal they were there and he, in return, would strike a match from his window to let them know he was watching. Although separated by just a few miles, they were only able to see each other each Sunday, for 2 hours, through glass and wire. Writing letters became their way of communicating and 100 letters were exchanged during an 8-week period.

This was a secret my parents, family and a few close friends took to their graves. No one ever told me and I was too young to remember. And yet, a box containing the letters, yellowed newspaper clippings, faded photographs and cards of encouragement from friends was left for me after everyone was gone.

Although the crime took place more than 60 years ago, it is still as current as today’s headlines. After much thought and reflection, I am ready to share this story. Controversial and uncomfortable, it is still deeply rooted in unwavering love. A horrific mistake was made leaving a family to heal, rebuild their lives and hopefully, forgive.

 

Happy 2