Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Given Day

This one was good, not great. Not nearly as well written as "Mystic River" which I would still say start with if you want to check out Dennis Lehane. This would be a good book to take on a semi-long flight and then you would not feel bad leaving it behind in a hotel room or on the plane.

I think Lehane had good intentions but the book got away from him in parts. One character in particular, the brother, seemed unnecessary and would be forgotten for long stretches. The historical content was interesting. I really enjoyed Babe Ruth in this book and also reading about the flu epidemic, unions and the mood of America after the First World War. The challenge seemed to be what story you really wanted to read and what characters and plot lines you tolerated to get to your favorites.

The race relations kept you paying attention. Some scenes were downright scary because you did not know what could happen and it did not seem like many lives (blacks, immigrants, children) were worth much in Boston during this period.

But, again, while there were flashes of great writing the book as a whole was a little unwieldy. Physically, too, this one is so big I had to rest it on a pillow or my bag while reading it. I will read more Lehane and plan to check out his Boston detective team books sometime this year.

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