So, I just finished reading "Small Mercies" by Dennis Lehane, and, although not the author’s best work, I have to say, the story is engaging and instructional. This book is a gripping and emotional journey that kept me interested from start to finish.
The story follows several families living in the working-class neighborhood of South Boston during the tumultuous period in 1974 concerning the forced busing of high school students between black and white neighborhoods. A murder of a young black teen by suspected white kids is the centerpiece of the plot, which Lehane uses to highlight the many challenges faced by historical and cultural biases and prejudices. The characters are all flawed and human, making them easy to relate to and root for throughout the book. As a native of South Boston, whose parents left the neighborhood as a result of the busing, I had a personal connection to the story and could see certain people I grew up with in the characters Lehane describes.
LeHane's writing is top-notch, and he does an excellent job of creating a vivid and gritty portrayal of life in life in 1970s South Boston. The dialogue is sharp and realistic, and the pacing is just right, keeping the story moving at a steady clip without ever feeling rushed.
What sets "Small Mercies" apart, though, is the story's emotional depth. LeHane tackles some heavy themes, including racism, hopelessness, addiction, loss, and redemption, and he does so with a sensitivity and grace that is truly remarkable. The characters' struggles feel genuine and heartbreaking, and the moments of hope and triumph are all the more potent for it.
Overall, I would highly recommend "Small Mercies" to anyone looking for a powerful and engaging read. LeHane is a master storyteller, and this book is a testament to his skill and talent. So, go ahead and give it a read - you won't be disappointed!