Book review: Ask Again, Yes: a novel by Mary Beth Keane

Your mother will like this book.

When I finished listening to Ask Again, Yes: a novel and contemplated how I’d write this review, one phrase sounded in my mind, loud and clear:

I liked it, and I’m not a mother. Did my subconscious try to push a ‘chick lit’ stereotype on me? Why do I think moms will like this?

This book lovingly takes you through three generations in two families. There are many characters, but don’t worry, dear heart, Mary Beth Keane makes sure you never feel overwhelmed.

Do you ever watch movies like The Town or Brooklyn and wish you had a sad, family history told through a lilting Irish accent? I don’t know that I wanted that specifically, but I did marry into a family with Irish roots. Shannon is Irish for storyteller. I got lucky there.

If you enjoy following characters through their life choices and getting to know them as if they’re your neighbours, then this is the book for you.

Besides this, I enjoy the smug reader experience of being able to say to a character, “Well, if you knew what your Mom went through when she was a girl, you would understand why she did XYZ.”

This is the kind of book that you want if you like being told a good story. Remember being a kid, and saying, “Tell me a story.”

When you’re done reading this book, you’ll want to know what happens next, and next, and next.

A hearty recommendation from me. This is the kind of book I’d listen to if I were on a road trip. The delight of the story and the turns of the road would be blended together forever in my mind.

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