The Given Day is set in post war one and the Spanish flu epidemic, among a change in the midst. Between a white and a black family Dennis Lehane gives us an impressive blend of history, change and violence.
The Coughlin’s have an impressive history with the Boston Police Department. Danny is a patrolman, and his father is a captain. On Danny’s travels throughout his patrols and in the station house, there is discord – not enough money, have to pay for their uniforms and equipment. And, there isn’t any kind of benefits, and they are paid lower then other jobs in the city. There is talk of forming a union, and his father, and his best friend want to know more so they have him infiltrate all of the groups in the city not to mention their own group to get more information.
Luther Lawrence is unemployed. He used to work at the docks, and any other job he could find, but his girlfriend tells him of Oklahoma. So they move, end up getting married, and find jobs there. Until something happens. Luther leaves his girlfriend then wife in Tulsa, as he makes his way back North where he goes to Boston. He ends up working for the Coughlin’s, and the newly formed NAACP.
As these two stories start off individually, and then combine, it is clear that everyone has things they believe in. The story is about life, promises made, promises kept, things that will inevitably change, and some will stay the same. It is a easy read, although it is quite a large book, Dennis Lehane is a master of story writing, draws you in and in a way makes you know everything about the characters and the history of the situation. I have read some reviews where they have said that it was too drawn out, it should have been shorter, but I do not agree. I felt as though it was a perfect blend of history and feeling – not as a person reading it but the characters in the book as well.
This is the 6th book I have read for the Fabulous Fall Reading Challenge
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