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It was a peculiar evolution from when I first saw the synopsis for The Awakening until I actually read the book. I like to look at the upcoming releases on Amazon, and in June or early July I spotted the cover for The Awakening. It grabbed my attention, the synopsis sounded interesting, and I immediately added it to my wish list. In August, I was offered a copy of the book to review – how could I refuse a book that was already in my own wish list? Two months later, I opened it up and began reading. I had completely forgotten the synopsis, I guess you could say that I went into it blind – something I would recommend.
At its core, The Awakening is a coming of age story of a young teen living in small town USA. But in all reality, The Awakening is more of a babushka book, there are stories inside of stories inside of stories. Through Toby Fairchild, Brett McBean immerses his reader into the story and stories of his neighbor, Mr. Joseph. These stories connect Mr. Joseph’s life in Haiti many years ago to his journey to Belford, Ohio.
Brett McBean brought Mr. Joseph to life, he piqued my interest with his initial description – "his severely crooked neck and nasty facial scar." The Awakening is as much about an old man and his experiences as it is about a boy becoming a man.
Brett McBean really highlighted life in small town America. There were things that I could recognize from my own small town, both the great parts of living in a small community along with the dark underbelly and prejudices that we all like to pretend aren’t in our own neighborhoods.
There were times when The Awakening dragged on a bit. I would love to say that I was riveted to every page, but I wasn’t. In the end it all came together and was well worth the build-up.