While We’re Far Apart by Lynn Austin will definitely be considered as a boring book by many who judge a book only after reading a couple of chapters but for those who actually invest their time and energy to it, they will find it all worthwhile in the end. This book is emotional and will leave you thinking long after you’re done with it. I don’t read a lot of books that have that kind of impression on me and so that’s why I consider this a very good read. You know you are reading a good book when you’re so drawn into the story and of the characters even when not much is really happening plot wise. I know, this sounds really weird but that’s exactly how I felt when reading this book. The characters are fleshed out very nicely and you just can’t help but keep reading into the next chapter even though there is no cliff hanger from the last one.
“In an unassuming apartment building in Brooklyn, New York, three lives intersect as the reality of war invades each aspect of their lives. Young Esther is heartbroken when her father decides to enlist in the army shortly after the death of her mother. Penny Goodrich has been in love with Eddie Shaffer for as long as she can remember; now that Eddie’s wife is dead, Penny feels she has been given a second chance and offers to care for his children in the hope that he will finally notice her and marry her after the war. And elderly Mr. Mendel, the landlord, waits for the war to end to hear what has happened to his son trapped in war-torn Hungary.”
I stumbled upon this book while loitering in the top free download section of Kindle books. At the time of this writing, the Kindle version is still available for free. I highly urge any readers looking for an emotional read to pick it up. The book is definitely worth the asking price as well.
First off, the story is simple enough for everyone to understand and the book flows very nicely. Having read so many books that deal with gun fighting, heroic adventures, betrayals and whatnot, I naturally assumed throughout many parts of the book that some of the characters aren’t who they portray to be or that some mystery is lurking around the corner waiting to reveal itself. Well, that never happens and I stopped assuming after awhile. I just read the book for what it is. While We’re Far Apart is a book about real human beings living in a tough time. I’m sorry to spoil it for you but if you’re looking for a book with some sort of mystery plot or turning point, you’re not going to find it here. This book challenges the faith of the characters in many ways. Why are evil men allowed to live in this world while the good perish? Why have faith in a higher power when it seems that all of your prayers seem to go unanswered? One of the main characters in the book, Mr. Mendel, is a Jewish man and throughout the book, focuses on his religious teachings and beliefs. While I’m not Jewish myself, I find it very interesting to learn how these group of people view life and in ‘Hashem’.
The writing for this book is superb. I really don’t know how else to put it. Never once throughout reading the 400+ pages of this book did I find myself skipping any parts. If this book was turned into a movie, I’m sure it would feel and look low budget because the entire book focuses only in a couple of locations. You have Mr. Mendel’s apartment, the duplex for both Esther and Peter’s grandparents along with Penny’s parent, the bus station where Penny works, the inside of a bus and that pretty much sums it up. Obviously some of the characters will travel to other places close to within their vicinity but for the most part, what I’ve listed is all there is to it. However, the author makes it clear that it’s not about traveling to different places and having the characters do incredible things that makes her book so incredible. It’s about the trials and tribulation one goes through during hard times.
All in all, I have nothing but high praise for this book by Lynn Austin, which is my first from her. I am so glad after reading this book to learn that she wrote a lot of other books as well. I am sure to read another one from her in the future. I simply loved the characters in this book not because they are heroes or anything but for the fact that you can connect with them on an emotional level. I admit that I have shed a couple of tears while reading some of the letters written by the family members of Mr. Mendel stuck in a country so close to the war. While this book is fiction, you just can’t help but think if this really didn’t happen to a real family back in this war torn era. It’s just amazing how many things this book teaches and that’s why I highly urge people to read it. If you know of someone who is depressed or just confused in life, I also believe this book can help in a very special way.