Peel back the wallpaper and look inside the life of the O’Briens, and what you will find will be extraordinary. I never imagined that this novel would be so inspiring and life-changing for me. I have been informed, enlightened and entertained. Knowing very little about this disease, I have become aware how Huntington’s Disease can affect a person and those around them. This novel is truly amazing. I laughed, I cried and I had many ahh moments. I can tell you this, don’t read this book on an airplane, the plane’s not dark enough to hide your swollen eyes from the tears, and I myself, didn’t pack enough tissues to last the whole flight. But, the plane’s engines are loud enough to drown out your snobs, that is one good thing.
The story centers on Joe who is a police officer and his family. Throughout the book the author enlightens us with facts about Huntington’s Disease, nothing too heavy, just the facts to help us understand the story. The children have all grown up yet they all live together in their childhood home, each occupying their own space on a separate floor of the house with the parents who are still living in the home. Living in a small town, Joe loves his job as a police officer and their life was good until Joe starts to behave differently. His concentration is off, he’s having muscle spasms and other people start to notice that he’s just not acting the same. That trip to the doctor changes the life of the O’Briens forever. I feel chills’ writing this, for it’s that moment in life, where you can’t turn back time; it’s only going forward and making the best of the situation at hand. For the O’Briens, this family is a unit and as Joe has to face of the reality of what Huntington’s Disease is and how his life will change; he is not alone, not ever. Huntington’s Disease, it affects your family no matter if you want it to or not and for Joe’s family, this is a time where he may feel alone but his family is there. The emotions and the struggles are real, their fight is real and I was there with them. A couple of my favorite parts were the anger and fight that Joe went through. He didn’t give up, thinking about the symptoms that he was struggling with and yet he fought them because he didn’t want to give up what he loved. I also loved how Rosie, his wife was the only religious one in the family before this battle began. As time progressed, Joe disease became progressively worse and as a result, Joe started to high-five the Virgin Mary. The table turned and Joe wanted to believe in something higher and wanted to have hope, while Rosie started to drink and wondered how her God could allow such bad things to happen. It was such a wonderful story about family, about their struggles and about love. I highly recommend this novel.
I was given a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest opinion.