Review: The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens

The Life We BuryThe Life We Bury by Allen Eskens
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Life We Bury is a layered and complex yet easy to follow story that grabbed me from the very first page. I read part of the book and listened to part of it on audiobook, both were enjoyable. It is about Joe who comes from a family with an alcoholic mother, an autistic brother and a father he’s never known. Joe’s grandfather, who he was very cloe to, recenly passed away. There’s a very interesting layer to this story regarding Joe and his grandfather. Joe is set up in life to be a kid who will never attend college or make a good life for himself, but will follow the dysfunction of his mother. But, Joe decides to try to change the family dysfunctional cycle set before him and he attends a local community college. Joe takes a Biography class and is assigned to interview and write a biography of an elderly person. But, with the family Joe has who will he interview? Joe decides to visit a senior center to find someone to interview, but Joe is told that noone there has enough of a memory left to tell their story. Joe persists and he is told about Carl Iverson. Iverson is at the senior center on parole from being convicted of the rape and murder of a 14 year old girl due to his terminal cancer diagnosis. Joe interviews Iverson and the layered, complex story begins. Are things as they seem on the surface?

The writing is absolutely amazing, beautiful and entertaining. The way Eskens paints pictures with words is often very different, but they brought the images to my mind immediately. There are many major twists in the story that I NEVER saw coming, but they made perfect sense when exposed within the story.

There is also a very minor part in the story that involves some slow moving, slowly developing romance. It was a breath of fresh air to read such an engaging, page turning book that didn’t have a romance at it’s forefront. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy romance in books, but this book placed it’s romance perfectly in the backdrop.

I also loved Joe’s relationship with his autistic brother, Jeremy. Joe had such a beautiful older brother love for Jeremy. Joe not only tried to better his own life, but the life of Jeremy as well. Jeremy plays a very surprising role in revealing truth.

This was the first time I read anything by Allen Eskens, but it definitely won’t be the last. His story kept me engaged from beginning to end. I wish I could have just read the book all at once from cover to cover. Each time I put the book down, I found myself thinking about the characters, wondering what would happen next. I was quickly invested in the lives of each and every one of the characters. This book was full of intrigue, suspense, action, love, some wild/crazy characters and a great plot that made me think. What more could you want from a great book?

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