Saturday, July 31, 2010
The Given Day
There are certain types of books I usually gravitate towards. Most of them have an "Oprah's Book Club" sticker on the cover. Speaking of covers, I usually judge books by them. Clever title and well-done artwork will usually sell a book to me. But I also like books that have strong, well developed characters; animals; romance; humor; and suspense.
So it was surprising to me how much I liked this book, which was about the 1910's, policemen, gangsters, crime, baseball, and race. This is more of a man's book due to the subject matter, but I really enjoyed reading it. The author has written some very well known books, including Shutter Island, Mystic River, and Gone, Baby, Gone. That's essentially why I decided to buy this 700 page book about aforementioned subjects, even though it wasn't really my style. I'm so glad I did. The main characters are identifiable, heroic yet flawed. The writing is smart, with imagery detailed enough to feed your imagination. There is just enough suspense to keep you wanting to know what's going to happen next without being frustrating.
The book centers around Danny Coughlin, a white Boston police officer, and Luther Laurence, a black man who comes to Boston from Tulsa after getting in some trouble with the law. The men eventually cross paths and form a relationship inconceivable in 1918, a time when being white means you have power and being black means you have none. From there the author weaves a story involving history, greed, politics, family, love, hardship, and hope.
It was one of those books where when I got to the last page each printed word became treasured as I knew the adventure and relationship with these characters was nearing an end. I'm eager to start a new book, as always, but the characters from The Given Day will be with me for some time.