Gina’s Reading: The Given Day

The Given Day - Dennis LehaneI am not a lover of mysteries or violence — a switch flipped in my head when I was pregnant with B that makes even fictionalized peril or meanness intolerable for me — so Dennis Lehane isn’t someone I would ordinarily read. However, The Given Day is a departure from Lehane’s mystery genre and my incredibly smart and well-read mother-in-law raved about the book, so I picked it up.

It is wonderful.

This epic book follows two incredibly well-drawn men through a rather rough spot in Boston history. When the characters and the historical events eventually collide it was so natural and unpredictable that I wondered whether Lehane was that brilliant or I was just that dense. I believe it is the former.

I appreciated Lehane’s creating complex characters–even when drawing on stereotypes of race and religion. When folks act according to “place” it doesn’t appear to be a shortcut, but a researched, historical portrait.

Yes, there is an abundance of violence–graphic scenes of horrible behavior–but I was so enraptured by the characters’ stories that I managed to stomach even that.

In short, I loved this book and hated to see it end.

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