Ask Again, Yes
Attempting to understand the human experience, and dealing with the aftermath of tragedy is something to which all people can relate. Mary Beth Keane’s novel Ask Again, Yes explores this phenomenon through the Gleeson and Stanhope families- neighbors in a suburb of New York City. The reader is introduced to the parents of both families at the beginning of the novel, and walks through life with their youngest children, Kate Gleeson and Peter Stanhope. We see the way various characters react to experiences with marriage, mental health, love, betrayal, and forgiveness. I found myself struggling to finish the novel about halfway through, and realized I felt detached from the characters which was unnerving for me; finding a connection to characters is how I usually become engaged in books. Despite this hindrance, I did end up completing the novel! Ask Again, Yes is the type of book that leaves me thinking about human nature and the underlying reasons we might react differently to the same situations. I found this book to be quite thought-provoking in both positive and negative ways (which I suspect was intentional on the author’s part). Keane’s book makes me think of a piece of art that speaks to me better as a whole, rather than in pieces. At times while reading I felt conflicted and uncomfortable, but I truly appreciated the novel in full after I finished it. If you are in search of a thought-provoking novel and enjoy reading about families I suggest Ask Again, Yes.