Monday, March 24, 2014
What Follows After by Dan Walsh, it just doesn't get any better than this
Dan Walsh is fast becoming my favorite author and has written a very poignant, challenging and intense book called "What Follows After." I find with Dan's books I usually just devour them the first time I read them. They draw me in so quickly that I make excuses to read at times that I normally would be doing something else. What Follows After made me want to read more and then as I neared the ending, I tried to slow down as suddenly I didn't want the book to end. I'll be going back to reread this book as I do with all of Dan's books to savor the story and take the lesson that he teaches well within my soul.
As a Floridian I love reading books that are based on cities that I either live in or have visited. Dan took us on a journey around the state in this book and it was more of a mystery than his other novels. I love the research and the history aspect that Dan is known for and also that it was story within a story.
What Follows After also made me think back to what I was doing in 1962; I was the older child, Colt's age back then. The suspense at times was nearly unbearable so it made me keep turning the pages and I added extra reading time at night to my schedule. What Follows After is a good history lesson for younger readers as it followed the timeline of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the reaction of people in our country.
Dan weaves as only he can a story of family dysfunction, total breakdown and then redemption in a beautiful way. It is hard to believe that the parents in the story would have their children live a lie, especially in the time frame of the story, but maybe it was because of the time frame... the "Camelot years," when families were supposed to be like the Cleavers or the Anderson's from "Father Knows Best" that they felt they had to pretend. Dan always puts an important life lesson in his books on how a strongly dysfunctional family can learn to be a healthy family.
One of my favorite chapters in the book was the church scene with Mamie Lee, who was a mother figure in the book. Reminiscent of "The Help" it was a pivotal chapter and was beautifully portrayed as the people prayed and took action to be on the alert.
I have to say that Dan's last sentence from the book summed it all up so well. What follows after just doesn't get any better than that.
Donna Collins Tinsley
Word Weavers Volusia County Group