Title: Here Lies The Father
Author: Mckenzie Cassidy
Publishing: January 5th 2021 by Kaylie Jones Books
When Ian Daly and his sister Catherine arrive for their wayward father’s funeral in his small and desolate Upstate New York hometown, a secret that was kept from them their entire lives emerges: their father Thomas abandoned two other families, leaving behind two furious wives and several children who never knew their father.
For as long as Ian can remember, his own family has covered up for Thomas’s alcoholism and bipolar disorder. Now, Ian wants to know the truth, but is met with resistance from his own sister and their mother, who want to preserve the carefully constructed myth they’ve created around who Thomas really was.
In the cold, lonely winter landscape of small-town New York, fifteen-year-old Ian sets out alone to learn the truth about his father’s past and the families he left behind. Here Lies a Father examines the long-term effects shameful secrets have on a family, and how difficult it is for a young man to reconstruct his own sense of right and wrong when every value and moral principle he was ever taught was based on a lie.
I finally got to dive into my first read of 2021 and it was “Here Lies A Father” by Mckenzie Cassidy. Normally i shoot for the types of reads that have murder, crime and craziness so I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book after reading the description. I was pleasantly surprised by the hint of mystery and how engrossed I became while reading, wanting to find out everything along with the narrator. The book was also a quicker read than some novels, nothing too long that drags on and on so bonus points on that.
The book takes place during one weekend where the narrator, Ian, attends his father’s funeral and begins to learn more about himself and his father’s past. He decides to stay the weekend with family members he’s never met in hopes to ask questions and try to figure out how much of his dad’s life he lied about. I enjoyed the jumps between past and present—it was like putting a puzzle together. We would learning small tidbits about his father from the past and then we would flash up to the present to obtain more information about him from different character’s viewpoints. It was also a nice narrative to have Ian going through the journey himself—it felt as if we were all in it together, learning about his dad and his family.
Not only do we learn about his father, but we learn a lot about Ian as well. We learn how he feels about himself, how he doesn’t think he’s a typical guy, how he thinks he’s a “nice guy”, how he believes that lying is just a part of life through flashbacks and stories as well as his own inner thoughts while speaking with family. We can see how his father and his family life affected him as he grew up and how it affects him now. He’s searching for answers during the weekend of his father’s funeral—he’s trying to understand his father but he also is trying to get answers about himself.
The book did take me some time to get hooked but I can say I did eventually get super engulfed in the novel and wanted to see what happened next. Like I said before, I normally read murder mysteries and usually in the first 3 pages something crazy has already happened. So this book was different for me but it still definitely got my attention.
I don’t want to ruin the ending for anyone, but you do get a nice sigh of relief for Ian and hope that his weekend away helped him start fresh and learn who he is and what he wants out of life.
If you’re looking for a good, quicker read that will get you thinking about family life, mental health and how the environment someone grew up in can affect how they are as a person, I’d definitely recommend “Here Lies A Father”.