Monday, November 18, 2013

Bones of My Brother

A brooding shroud of guilt was the characteristic that most marked the Hobson men.  There was Price, the small town boy, who later stamped his mark upon the backstabbing world of high finance and property development, a world that would ultimately crumble about him.  Depressed by the loss of his parents, he ignores personal and family responsibilities while searching for the truth about his father, the man without a smile.  Had it been the gore of Normandy or had there been a more defining, perhaps defiling, chapter in John Hobson's life? He was gone now, interred “…in nested containers of earth, box and body.” But the secret of John Hobson's lifelong angst lay not beneath the hot soil of Gethsemane's cemetery, but beneath God's tree in a tiny glade one county over.  For one man, there'd been the lure of “Music City” versus the love of his treasured Evie.  For the other, there'd been the heady rush of success, followed by a precipitous fall from grace.

This novel weaves the stories of three loves.  From rural Alabama at mid-century, there was John Hobson and his Evie.  From Minnesota at century's end, there was Price and his Joy. And there was always the abiding love of a son for his father. Bones of My Brother explores the conflict of dreams and reality—the searching for what is right and true in life and the sacrifices we make along the way

*May Contain Spoilers*

J. Frank Dunkin explores the parallelism between father and son in his novel, Bones of My Brother. When Price's father dies, he realizes there was more to John Hobson than he knew. With the discovery of letters from the past, Price begins to piece together his father's life in hopes that it will somehow save his own. 

The novel follows both the son, Price, and the father, John as main characters. They share characteristics that include an overwhelming feeling of guilt, the fear of not reaching their full potential, and a lost focus on what truly matters in life. These qualities are easily transferred to the reader's understanding, bringing them deep into the story. Though the characters blame themselves and see themselves as undeserving, readers will gain the outside perspective needed to understand what these men suffer through. 

The plot shows Price in a sort of mid-life crisis. His wife isn't happy with their relationship. They struggle financially. And the place where Price believed he'd be at fifty, isn't where he currently stands. At the same time, the story line also follows John in what he would deem the worst years of his life. Newly married, John's wife doesn't enjoy their relationship while John dreams of becoming a famous country musician, but can't seem to catch a break. As the lives of father and son run parallel, Dunkin shares the hardships and their attempts to overcome them. With heavy religious tones and a poetic writing style, Bones of My Brother is a novel that shares the light in the darkest of times. 

Rating: 3/5 Cups

*Note: The author of this novel passed away before publication. Therefore, Bones of My Brother has yet to be officially published. The last proofed and accepted copy was used for this review. 

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