Review GOODNIGHT, BRIAN by Steven Manchester

Goodnight, Brian by Steven Manchester
Published by The Story Plant
Publication Date: January 8, 2013
ISBN-10: 1611880610
ISBN-13: 978-1611880618
Pages: 308
Review Copy from: The Story Plant
Edition: ARC Kindle
My Rating: 5

Fate was working against little Brian Mauretti. The food that was meant to nourish him was poisoning him instead, and the doctors said the damage was devastating and absolute. Fate had written off Brian. But fate didn’t count on a woman as determined as Brian’s grandmother, Angela DiMartino – who everyone knew as Mama. Loving her grandson with everything she had, Mama endeavored to battle fate. Fate had no idea what it was in for.

An emotional tale about the strength of family bonds, unconditional love, and the perseverance to do our best with the challenging gifts we receive, GOODNIGHT, BRIAN is an uplifting tribute to what happens when giving up is not an option.

My Thoughts and Opinion:
As always, I am skeptical reading a second novel by an author that blew me away with his debut novel.  Will this latest book do the same?  Will the writing take me places within my mind?  Will I relate to the characters?  Will I be transported, by the authors words, into the story?  Will I enjoy it as much as I did with his book, Twelve Months?  Five (5) questions asked about Goodnight, Brian.  And five (5) very enthusiastic Yeses!!  I was bowled-over for a few reasons, one of them being that of, the parallels to my own life, were to a point, eerie. 

It has always been my policy not to include spoilers but I will provide a warning….a box or 2 of tissues, should be a prerequisite, before reading the first page.  This is a story that will tug at your heart strings, have you rooting for the “underdog”, celebrating the victories, crying both sad and happy tears and wishing you had a “Mama” in your family.

What should have been a joyous time in Joan and Frank’s life, with the arrival of a brand new baby boy, Brian, turns into a nightmare.  After being prescribed a certain formula from the pediatrician, Brian was not thriving.  After months of tests and multiple medical consults, the devastating results are delivered to the parents, Brian will never walk or talk.  However, those doctors have never dealt with the likes of Mama and her power of strength, tenacity, conviction, stubbornness, unconditional love and faith.  The author, with his fluid and descriptive writing style, allows the reader to become part of this family’s disappointments and triumphs.  An emotional read!!

I could not put this book down and felt that the author was retelling a bit of my own personal life.  Every one of my senses were triggered with this book.  The setting, even to the family’s favorite “pizza place” was easy for me to envision since the story takes place in the state that I reside.  I could smell the “gravy” that would be simmering on the stove every Sunday at Mama’s house, just like at my own Nana’s house.  I could hear the wisdom my Nana would share with the family as Mama did with her’s.  I could see the pain in Joan and Frank’s eyes as I had seen in my own parents’ faces since my only sibling is afflicted with cerebral palsy.  I remember the touch of leather seats in Uncle Sal’s red Cadillac, which was the last car my father purchased and I drove before his passing.  The parallels uncanny!

Goodnight, Brian is a tender, moving, sensitive, poignant and emotion packed story that will stay with you long after the final page.  Highly recommend to all readers!!  A 5+ read.  Kudos Mr. Manchester, you blew me away again!!!
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