Book Review: Ashes by Steven Manchester

This had the promise of being a pretty good book, but it sucked. Following their father’s death, two long estranged brothers go on a roadtrip across a few states to ‘deliver’ their father’s ashes to an unknown address. Along the way they rediscover each other and forgive each other for the trespasses of their youth (and basically blame Daddy for everything). Once they’ve driven far enough to make up, there’s a magical surprise awaiting them at the end – their mother, whom they thought long dead, is alive and kicking. AND THEY JUST LEAVE HER IN THE NURSING HOME AFTER A DAY OR TWO VISIT AND GO BACK TO THEIR MISERABLE LIVES.

Oh and they go to church. Which is the whole point of the book, it’s meant to be about finding Jesus and forgiveness and the whole thing is a metaphor for Christianity being amazing, which is probably the reason I hated it because it’s DRIPPING with organised religion way before they mention going to mass (which is just awkwardly introduced midway because the author couldn’t figure out how to say LOOK, MY GOD IS AWESOME without just shoving our faces into it. So he gave up and shoved our faces in it).

Anyway, the so-called terrible childhood is actually not as bad as it’s made out to be. Other reviewers have said this book is filled with essential, elegant and intricate truth, but it’s basically the mumbled wankery of someone who imagines what the results of an abusive childhood would look like in two middle aged and completely unremarkable men, then arranges it around his need for everyone to worship his middle class white dude god. I actually wanted to put this down so many times, because I couldn’t bring myself to pretend to care about what happens to the characters, but I am on this kick of finishing every book I start (Beauty sleeping has been read chapter by chapter, slowly and painfully). Do yourself a favour, and don’t bother picking it up when it comes out mid Feb, 2017.

1/5 stars. Actually, is zero stars a thing? 0/5.

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