I know where this story is going and I don't want to go there, but I can't stop.
What makes for a great read? It's not sticking to every writing rule out there and it's not breaking every writing rule out there. It's not even working in the balance of the rules.
Let's be honest, there are few technically perfectly written books. Yes, breaking, bending, not following these rules can hurt a book's read. Would I...if I had been wearing my editor's hat...have offered different editing suggestions to this book, yes. Does that matter or is that part of my review, no. Why mention? Because there are some technical writing elements that did catch my eye.
HOWEVER, I've never cried to the point of not being able to see the page like I did with "Annie's Second Wind."
Believable characters? Just because I've not met many who I would relate back to Mr. Carlson's group of characters doesn't mean they don't exist. I hope they are out there, somewhere. This fictional group of people made me believe. They made me care. And, cry, they made me cry. They made me feel their loss, remember my own. They made me believe in them.
All that boils down to Mr. Carlson's writing of his story and characters.
This is not my average reading choice. Mr. Carlson's back blurb drew me in and I'm glad it did. I like his word phrasings. His setting and characters are clear.
Prepare for a wild ride...GO TUGBOAT GRANNIES!
On a more personal note, I'm from a family of strong women. I grew up with my aunts, cousins, mom, Nanny, and Great Aunts (and the men in our family). Sadly, I don't remember my maternal great-grandmother, but I know all about her. My daughter knows these women. Mr. Carlson reminded me not to take for granted their strength and impact on me and mine.
For Moby and his daughter. My dad passed away ten years ago from a re-appearing cancer. Nearly ten years before that he battled lung cancer. Now my dad was nowhere near Moby's character, but I envied and lived the fictional Christine's goodbye to her dad, Moby. I didn't get that goodbye as dad died in the ICU somewhat "out of it" medically, but I can recognize the truth in a fictional father/daughter relationship. Thank you, Mr. Carlson.
I'm not giving away story with the above, it's clear in the story what you will be getting, what you should be expecting. And it hurts. All I will say for the character Merriweather...dignity. Mr. Carlson, you brought dignity.
A technically perfectly written book? No.
An emotionally real reading? YES, and sometimes that's all that matters.
Mr. Carlson...thank you. Onward to "Annie's Third Wind."