New book review! This one was called Fred’s Funeral by Sandy Day. It was a quick read at only 114 pages but oh so interesting 🙂 The author even sent me a bookmark which was quite a nice little surprise when I opened up the book and it was tucked in there.
Synopsis: Only at his funeral, does a family come to know a long-neglected and shell-shocked soldier from WWI. Based on a true story. It’s 1986. Fred Sadler has just died of old age. Seventy years after he marched off to WWI.
As his ghost hovers near the ceiling of the nursing home where he’s died, Fred listens in dismay as the arrangement of his funeral falls to his loathed sister-in-law, Viola.
Fred’s ghost follows his family, eavesdropping on his own funeral, and agonizing over his inability to set the record straight.
Did old Uncle Fred really suffer from shell shock? Why did his family lock him away in the Whitby Hospital for the Insane? Couldn’t they have done more for him?
Fred remembers his life as a child, his family’s hotel, the War, and the mental hospital. But his memories clash with Viola’s version as the family gathers one rainy October night to pay their respects.
This book was fantastic! I loved it. It was so cool to see the perspective of a ghost looking down on his own funeral and know what he was thinking. Poor Fred had such a hard life.
He was in the war and when he got back from the war, he was experiencing PTSD but this wasn’t even a thing yet so everyone called it Shellshock. He was constantly in and out of a home for the mentally ill because no one could diagnose his disorder and just assumed he was crazy. The poor guy eventually gave up on escaping the home and just accepted what everyone was telling him (that he was crazy).
The book went back and forth between the present where the family is all together reminiscing about Fred’s life and the past where Fred’s memories take place. It was set in Ontario, Canada and it was really cool for me as a Canadian because I knew of all the places and locations mentioned in the book. I have swam in Lake Simcoe multiple times so I can relate 🙂
There was one part of the book I was not fond of. It was a little traumatizing, to be honest. They have a kitten that kept showing up on the property and the kids loved playing with it when it was there so the father put it in a box then put a pipe into it and connected the other end of the pipe to the car exhaust to kill the kitten (not in front of the children but still). I realize this may have been something that people did back in the day (its the first time I have encountered it) but I would not be ok with this at any time in my life. All part of the story though, which was a very quick and enjoyable read for me!
I would recommend this book to all the Canadian readers out there. It is a good wholesome Canadian book about the life and struggles of a man who survived the war and dealt with the aftermath as a PTSD victim without being properly diagnosed.
I even put my new Canada mug in the picture that I just got from Indigo because the book had such a Canadian theme!
Book Rating: 4/5
Disclaimer: This book was sent to us by the author in physical format to read and give an honest review.