January 11, 2005
In 1987 the Rutledge family suffered the loss of their beloved son and
brother, Nick. We start the book with a flashback of the family enjoying a track meet together. As the book continues, through
the words of the father, Frank; mother, Margaret; slightly older brother, Cage and younger brother, Harper - we find out that
Nick has been killed in a head on collision.
We begin a journey forward in time, catching glimpses of life before and
well after Nick’s death. We read an excerpt from an omniscient point of view followed by first person accounts by the
various family members. We learn that as the family is trying to move on with their lives Cage falls into a depression further
agitated by drugs and alcohol. He ends up in prison and various institutions before he is released as a manic depressive individual
suffering for paranoid delusions. He spirals towards certain self-destruction as his family struggles to hold on to him and
bring him back.
We live out poignant memories that are sometimes funny and oftentimes tragic.
We are adopted by this family and allowed to walk in their shoes for several miles as they struggle for a sense of closure.
The book is definitely an emotional roller coaster at times but we are left with the sense that they will triumph over the
despair as long as they remain together.
Carter Coleman has created a real family from snippets of everyone’s
family. This journey is well documented and it is an insightful and entertaining read written in a unique style.
Reviewed by Tyrone Vincent Banks