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April 25, 2020

The Big Finish by Brooke Fossey ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"Together we turned toward the door and prepared to meet our constituents for breakfast. And this is not an overstatement. Carl and I, we were the benevolent rulers of Centennial, crowned because we were able-bodied, for the most part, intellectually sound and as I point out ... movie star handsome."  (p 6)

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

April 2020; Berkley; 978-1984804938
audio, ebook, print (336 pages); women's fiction
My mom lived in assisted living for the last four years of her life and I visited her frequently and got to know a lot of the other residents.  The characters in this book are so well done that they were just like the people that I met there.  There were a lot of friendships but in some ways, it was like high school all over again.  The issue in the novel of a person sitting in someone else's place at lunch is one that I saw played out over and over when I had lunch with my mom. The focus of The Big Finish is on the subject of aging but I also had some laughs, cried some tears, and was rooting for the main characters all the way through it.

Duffy lives in an assisted living home and Carl is his roommate.  During the years that they've both been residents here, they've become best friends (in fact, Carl is the only friend that Duffy has ever had) and know everything about each other's lives.  Or do they?  Duffy finds out that there is a lot he didn't know about Carl when a 20ish-year-old woman with a black eye and the smell of alcohol on her breath climbs in the window of their room and claims to be Carl's granddaughter.  When Carl admits that he had an affair years ago and had a daughter that he's never seen, Duffy is upset that Carl had never shared this information with him. Josie wants to stay in their room for a week - she says to get to know her grandfather better but Duffy knows that there is more to her story.  Duffy knows that he needs to stay on his best behavior at the home because he has nowhere else to go but a nearby nursing home where people are sent to die and doesn't have the quality of care that he is getting at Centennial.  He sees no choice but to get rid of Josie but Carl wants to get to know his granddaughter better and wants her to stay in their room for a week and keep her hidden from management.  Despite the fact that he thinks it's a really bad idea, Duffy's friendship with Carl is so strong that he agrees to let her stay.  Before long, this crotchety old man who never married or had a family starts to feel like Josie is part of his family and he strives to help her with the demons in her life no matter what the repercussions will be in his life.

The Big Finish is a book about aging, love, and most of all friendship;  it's about making family out of the people that you care about and helping and loving them the best you can.  It's a wonderful look at bravery and love in old age when you can help someone in your 'family.'  Duffy is a wonderful, well-rounded character who I fell in love with and really enjoyed his journey.

I also enjoyed the way that the nurses and aides were portrayed in this book - they were all caring and understanding of problems with the elderly and in some cases went above and beyond to help the residents.

"In a funny, insightful, and life-affirming debut, Brooke Fossey delivers an unflinching look at growing old, living large, and loving big, as told by a wise-cracking man who didn’t see any of it coming."

Buy The Big Finish at Amazon

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina when she isn't traveling. She and her husband enjoy traveling, gardening and spending time with their family and friends. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and thrillers. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on FacebookGoodreads, or Twitter.

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