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Ryan's September 2019 pick
If you liked A MAN CALLED OVE, you'll love AKIN by Emma Donoghue. Noah is a 79-year-old widower and Michael is his 11-year-old great-nephew. Michael's father has died from an apparent overdose and his mother is serving time in prison for possession, so Noah, his only available kin, is asked to temporarily care for him. This ruffles Noah's plans of traveling to France, but ultimately he decides to take his great-nephew along with him. Together, Noah and Michael explore France, learning about each other and their family history along the way, and Noah, in particular, learns not to judge too harshly or make assumptions about people before having all of the facts.
AKIN is such a sweet book and the characters are darling and delightfully human, with a level of respect and understanding that our culture could use more of. Despite having next to nothing in common with his 11-year-old great-nephew, Noah treats Michael with dignity and compassion, recognizing that the boy is grieving his father and missing his mother and terrified of his future. The subplot of addiction and the justice system is a perfect balance to the main plot.
I loved this book, and anyone looking to escape into something uplifting and sweet will relish in this story of kin.
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