The Forever Year. Lou Aronica. Fiction Std. January 2013. 366 pp. pbk. Also available as e-book. ISBN #: 9781936558360.
Jessie, the youngest sibling in his family, now in his 30s and still feeling ignored or tolerated as the “baby” of the family, shocks the family. His Mom has passed away and his Dad, Mickey, is elderly and starting to be forgetful. The turning point happens when he leaves a pot on a turned-on stove and proceeds to sit in the living room and fall asleep. The fire makes all of his adult children realize he is now in danger if left to live by himself. So they have a family meeting where the toss-up is between their father living in an assisted living home or nursing home, though he’s physically fit for his age. So what a surprise when Jessie volunteers to have his Dad live with him.
Jessie at first realizes how quickly his idea was rather “romantic” in nature, a chance to finally be seen and heard as he is and not just an extra who never really connected to his father, a chance at closeness. But as future pages show, the glamor of the idea is quickly paling and the tension is rife with repeated misunderstandings or assumptions about each other that are far from reality. But that’s about to change when it’s Jessie’s turn to get shocked by getting to know the man he never understood was capable of being a “lover” outside of his role of father. This is even more interesting given Jessie’s present belief about there being a “true” love that lasts forever – no don’t assume you know how this will turn out because you can’t do the usual prediction for this story!
The reader will read about Mickey’s great love before Jessie’s mother came into the picture. It is said that everyone gets only “one” true love, and Mickey’s lesson to Jessie has to do is risking it all to make that happen, no matter what the eventual outcome.
The Forever Year is biting and sweet story at the same time. It’s sweet romantic fiction with a tad of the Nicholas Sparks but without the soppy quality of the latter; and thus the entire tale seems more realistic and endearing! Nicely done, Lou Aronica!