It all starts when Matthew observes a heroic scene in a convenience store: A man named Murdoch puts himself between an abusive father and his son. Matt is determined to get to know this man. And when, amazingly, Murdoch begins dating Matt’s mother, it seems as if life may become peaceful for the first time. Matt and his sisters have never before known a moment of peace in a household ruled by their unpredictable, vicious mother. And so, after Murdoch inevitably breaks up with her and the short period of family calm is over, Matt sees that he needs to take action. He refuses to let his family remain at risk. Can he call upon his hero, Murdoch? And if not, what might his desperation lead him to do?
This book is so disturbing but I was just so mesmerized by it that I didn’t notice until I was halfway in. This is a compulsive read, it urges you to keep on reading it even though it’s what I would call haunting.
(a) Poignant or evocative; difficult to ignore or forget: “haunting beauty”.
Yes. Thank you, online dictionary. Haunting is exactly the word I need to describe this book.
This story has a really dramatic backdrop. I didn’t like the characters all the way, but that doesn’t change the fact that I really appreciated them and they felt really real to me. I thought it was really heroic of Matthew to stick by his sisters. It’s like the book Split by Swati Avasthi, where the kid runs away from his abusive father, but instead it’s the opposite.
If you look at the Hero’s Journey, you can see that Murdoch is a Herald. He is an event, but he is also a character. The job of the Herald as one of the archetypes of the Hero’s Journey is to bring change to the world of the Hero. That is precisely what he did, and he did a great job doing it.
In the end, I really liked how Nancy Werlin tied Murdoch to Matthew like that, painting a precise, sharp portrait of the painful experience Murdoch must’ve gone through, finding his past suddenly in his face again.
In short, this was a great story. I can’t wait to come back to it, and I know that I’ll be rereading it in the future. 4.5 stars.
pg count for the hardback: 272