Book Review: Fred’s Funeral

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.

Books and a mug on a bed

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

You can find the book on Amazon and Goodreads!

Disclaimer: This book was sent to us by the author in physical format to read and give an honest review.

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Book Review: Release by Patrick Ness

Another book review, this time of Release by Patrick Ness. I read this one really fast so that tells you that it was damn good.

I would start with the fact that I love this book cover. It’s beautiful. Also kind of confused me because I would pick up the book to read if I put it down and it would be upside down because I kept expecting the cover to be right side up 😛

Synopsis: Adam Thorn doesn’t know it yet, but today will change his life.

Between his religious family, a deeply unpleasant ultimatum from his boss, and his own unrequited love for his sort-of ex, Enzo, it seems as though Adam’s life is falling apart.  At least he has two people to keep him sane: his new boyfriend (he does love Linus, doesn’t he?) and his best friend, Angela.

But all day long, old memories and new heartaches come crashing together, throwing Adam’s life into chaos. The bindings of his world are coming untied one by one; yet in spite of everything he has to let go, he may also find freedom in the release.

So I loved Adam’s character. He was just so real. And his best friend Angela was the best. If she was my friend, I would feel so blessed because she cares for Adam so much and would do anything for him. The fact that they became such good friends because they bonded over being in a car accident together as children was really cool. Just hanging upside down and reaching over and holding each other’s hands while being stuck in the car.

The entire book spans just over one day and a lot happens in this one day. Adam hears some big news from his brother, is given an ultimatum by his boss to either keep his job or get fired, and attends a party for some people close to him that are moving away. But there is another side story happening at the same time as Adam’s unravels.

A young woman named Katherine was killed just days before and her spirit has come out of the lake and is searching for some resolution to why she died. The story keeps switching back and forth between the two characters which makes for a very interesting storyline but none the less magnificent.

Adam’s struggle with his home life is kind of brutal too. He likes the same sex and this is not a thing you do if you are religious. At one point his father even tells him that he has to “work” to love Adam and that would be so hard to hear especially from the person you look up to and learn from your entire life. But he is true to who he is and fights for what he wants which I admire about him.

There was a quote that stood out in the book. It came from Angela’s mom but I thought it was too awesome not to share.

Never pass up the chance to be kissing someone. Its the worst kind of regret.

All in all, I loved this book and would strongly recommend it. It’s a very easy read and will leave you feeling happy. I honestly can’t find anything negative to say about it. This is the first book I have read by Patrick Ness and I really look forward to reading more of his work.

Book Rating: 5/5

Disclaimer: I bought this book with my own money and decided to write a review on it. I have been compensated in no way and did this because I wanted to.