In the first 15 pages of May we be Forgiven, the Silver family falls completely apart. George Silver, a television executive, is involved in a car accident with fatalities, which he may have caused. His older brother Harold, a professor, sleeps with George’s wife and then witnesses a horrific act of violence. Harry is a mess, and yet is the only one who can pick up the pieces in the wake of such trauma. He is appointed guardian for George’s children, Nate and Ashley, but it’s a good thing they are at boarding school because Harry has some pretty serious issues to work through. He engages in a variety of self-destructive behaviors, while trying to keep up appearances as a successful academic. But as his personal life unravels, the children’s needs take on greater importance, and together the family begins their long healing process.
This book drew me in at the start with its high-action opening, and immediate sympathy for a family struck by tragedy. And for a while, it was hard to put down. But about halfway through, the family’s path to recovery became less believable. Harry became involved with two different women, both under circumstances that would not normally result in healthy relationships. The children sometimes behaved in ways that seemed more advanced than a typical 11- or 12-year-old. And then Harry staged an elaborate trip for Nate’s Bar Mitzvah, which was crucial to their healing process, but really over the top. At this point my attention began to wane — I generally prefer more realistic plots. But on the other hand, I think much of this story is metaphorical, and the fantastic situations are carefully crafted to illustrate a point.
A few days after finishing this book, I’m still thinking about the Silver family and the way Homes told this story. And I guess that says something.