The Rockin' Chair
by Steven Manchester
Category: Fiction / General
0 pages; ISBN: TBA
Rating: 10/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Denise M. Clark
The Rockin’ Chair
By Steven Manchester
Publication Info TBA
Author Manchester’s newest work, The Rockin’ Chair, is a heartwarming tale about the enduring love of an elderly couple named John and Alice McCarthy. ‘Big John’ as his neighbors know him, is forced to come to terms with the fact that his beloved Alice is suffering from Alzheimer’s, her memories of their life and their children fading as quickly as her remaining strength. As he patiently cares for her, he reflects on the life they enjoyed together; a life filled with both love and challenges, especially when it came to raising their son, Hank. In his rocking chair, John searches for a way to make things right with his estranged son, and realizing that Alice hasn’t much time left, calls his family together to say their goodbyes.
Hank and his wife, Jenn, have lived across the creek from John and Alice’s home since a falling out with his father decades earlier. Hank is a bitter man who turned to drink to numb his failures, regretting that it’s more than a creek that separates him from the love he’s always yearned for from his father. His own children have no such problem loving, and being loved in return by their Grampa John, however, which leaves Hank feeling even more isolated and bitter. When it’s time to say good-bye to his mother, Hank and Jenn call their children home. Georgie, a soldier, has looked to the Army to bring purpose to his life. Evan and Taylor, fraternal twins, also looked beyond the mountains for their future and went their separate ways, Evan to Massachusetts to become a writer, and Taylor to the stages of New York, where she finds only addiction and heartbreak.
But the memories of home are imbedded deep within each one of them, and while John grieves the upcoming yet inevitable loss of his wife, he realizes he still has much to do to heal the rifts that have pulled his family apart. And with Alice’s help, he’s bound and determined to do just that.
This exquisitely tender novel propels the reader into the soul of one old man who, while short on schooling, is long on heart. Each and every single character in this tale is lovingly crafted and drawn out. The prose, rich in sensory images and emotion, tweaks at the heartstrings and fills the eyes. And the wisdom of one simple old man who has lived his entire life on a farm, carries a powerful impact, one that prompts the reader to think hard on the important things in life. This is one extraordinary novel, one that reaches out, pulls the reader in, and doesn’t let go until the very last page is turned. Powerful, moving and ever so tender, The Rockin’ Chair packs a thoroughly unexpected yet delightfuland tender punch.