A Black Cat Book Review
May We Be Forgiven by A. M. Homes
This is a story of a family in crisis and how each member of the family comes to terms with it. From the beginning we know that George Silver is not a nice person. He is successful in his career, married with two children in boarding school, beautiful home. But George is bad tempered and mean spirited What we do not know from the beginning is that his brother, Harry, is a really nice guy. What we do know about him is that he is a professor and Nixon scholar, married to a rather aloof woman, has no kids, is sleepwalking through life thoroughly bored..
Harry and George’s wife, Jane, have an affair. When George finds them in bed together Jane dies. George is institutionalized while awaiting trial. Harry loses his job, his wife, most of his worldly possessions, and becomes the foster parent of George’s children, Nate and Ashley. He stumbles around trying to make sense of this new life for which he is totally unprepared.
While living in George’s house, wearing George’s clothes, Harry takes care of George’s dog and cat and children and becomes involved with two very strange women. The interactions with these characters, people and animals, reveal Harry’s true self. A bit of a nerd, thoughtful, caring, compassionate, easily taken advantage of, confused. He just wants to do what is right for everyone. And he does his best; which turns out pretty good for someone who is clueless when it comes the intricacies of relationships. He takes Nate and Ashley to a South African village to celebrate Nate’s Bar Mitzvah, and becomes full-time caregiver to the parents of one of the women he is involved with when she runs away. He even tries to do right by the despicable George.
I liked the book from the first page. It is written in Harry’s voice, a journal of sorts. He is honest in the telling of the events that take place even when they are not especially complimentary to him. The story that he tells, though tragic at times, is endearing. There is humor in the sadness and confusion of life and this book makes the most of it. As much as I did not like George I really liked Harry and the kids.
Both brothers get what they deserve. As different as the brothers are so are their fates.