The past can leave a mark on our lives. It can be the determining factor in our decisions in our lifetime. While some histories bear happy memories, most of these memories can be hurtful when remembered. Most books will tell us to live our lives the way it is and slowly forget about the past, but one author begs us to differ.
To Follow A Life After by Carolyn McMahon is a compelling tale of two brothers who search for their missing father. Their search unfolds into a journey full of unfathomable mystery, love, deceit, and horror 一 unveiling their past lives, changing their lives forever as they continue to discover and reveal more of themselves through their history. Will they be able to move forward and live their lives afterward?
The book is non-fiction, but the mysterious premise of the book is a refreshing take on people's history. McMahon's ability to slowly build tension by retracing the father's footsteps through the brother's perspectives is an artful retelling of their journey as people struggling to reconcile with a missing parent. What the readers will see in the book is how the brothers slowly connect the dots and also learn more about their origins, their ancestry, and their parent. While the book is direct and does not spare any details to highlight the brothers' struggle, it is a subtle reminder that looking back at our past can benefit us because it will help us move forward and slowly push us to heal from it.
Moreover, the straightforward narrative of the book will quickly help the readers go on a rollercoaster of emotions as they will slowly immerse themselves in a book that talks about trauma and the challenges that surround children with missing parents. It tells the story of those children left behind with no words or any reconciliation, leaving them wondering about the possibility of life with a complete family. The heart-touching tale will surely leave readers in tears as they may find the story relatable or sympathize with children who have the same situation.
While it is only an author's work, it may teach readers, especially children, that looking back at the past may be hurtful, but reconciling with it will enable us to become the best version of ourselves. McMahon's mastery of dialogues and scenery illustrates a bleak picture of children whose lifelong questions become answered. It will also leave readers pondering about secrets and the personalities of people they love. The novel encourages us to question and allows us to grieve for the person we thought we were.
The book feels like a movie through every turn of the page and gives out a satisfying ending. One that will leave readers wondering about life and change their perspectives about life. To Follow A Life After is an extraordinary story that will encourage you to heal and reconcile with regrets and mistakes of the past.
Where do we go from here? That is the question.