Oliver Loving by Stefan Merrill Block
Thank you Flatiron Books for my copy of Oliver Loving by Stefan Merrill Block!
Oliver Loving was one of this year's releases I couldn't wait to read and I was thrilled to receive a copy from Flatiron Books at the beginning of January. Without a second thought, I picked it up and started reading as soon as it came in the mail. I was not disappointed! This book captured me from the very first chapter and pulled on my heart strings all the way to the end, leaving me emotionally depleted but satisfied with the story's ending.
Told from varying viewpoints, the story of Oliver Loving centers around the loved ones and friends of a young high school age boy who is in a coma, the result of a school shooting- simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. His mother, father and brother are the main story tellers of Oliver Loving, weaving their tale back and forth and around each other and Oliver, who remains silent in a hospital bed. The devastating effects this event has on each of these people will break your heart. Their stories are written with such honesty that it took barely any effort to view life from their perspective. The guilt and sacrifice, the vices and avoidance...so much pain. The author made each of their lives transparent in such a way that as I was reading I was able to empathize and feel for each of the characters, I could reach in and feel as if I was sitting in that hospital room looking at Oliver Loving myself, holding his hand and waiting for a sign.
When I read a book that emotionally pulls me in like this one, I find it hard to remove myself when its finished. I tend to carry around those emotions for a while, until the dust settles a bit and I can finally place the book onto the bookshelf. It took me a while to process my feelings when I was finished with Oliver Loving. The ending gave hope to what otherwise would have been a depressing and sad group of characters. I turned that final page with peace of mind that everyone is where they should be, even Oliver. And that my friends, is what really makes for a great reading experience.
Published by Flatiron Books