Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

Title: Ask Again, Yes, Author: Mary Beth Keane Ask Again, Yes.  Finished 9-11-19, 4.5/5 stars, fiction, pub. 2019

Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope, two rookie cops in the NYPD, live next door to each other outside the city. What happens behind closed doors in both houses—the loneliness of Francis’s wife, Lena, and the instability of Brian’s wife, Anne—sets the stage for the explosive events to come.

Ask Again, Yes is a deeply affecting exploration of the lifelong friendship and love that blossoms between Francis and Lena’s daughter, Kate, and Brian and Anne’s son, Peter. Luminous, heartbreaking, and redemptive, Ask Again, Yes reveals the way childhood memories change when viewed from the distance of adulthood—villains lose their menace and those who appeared innocent seem less so. Kate and Peter’s love story, while tested by echoes from the past, is marked by tenderness, generosity, and grace.    from Goodreads

It’s been two months since I read this book and amazingly I can still remember many of the details and exactly how it made me feel.  I read this for my book group and I did it in a day.  Not by choice but because I was reading a book a day at the time 🙂  This book left me feeling heavy, with a sense of sadness but also of hope.  I was happy that I set aside the whole day to read it because I really didn’t want to put it down once I started.

Two friends move to the suburbs and live next door to each other.  What sounds like a sweet deal actually puts distance between them as the wives do not get on well together.  On the other hand, their son and daughter do and this leads to trouble and tragedy.  What happens is an unraveling of everyone and their relationships too.  The rest of this family drama was filled with such honesty and real-life complexity that it it was hard to look away.

The story spans 40 years and is all encompassing.  What happens when a parent lets you down?  Or worse?  How can you learn to live and forgive after a life-changing event?  Would you even want to?  This is a story told with compassion about the extraordinarily ordinary family next door.  Loved it.

7 thoughts on “Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

  1. Diane says:

    I loved the audio version of this one. (I hope you will try Ann Patchett’s, Dutch House, as in some ways certain parts felt familar – loved them both.

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