Mystic River, Dennis Lehane

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There are threads in our lives. You pull one, and everything else gets affected.

Another review of a novel with a great film adaptation. I haven’t seen Mystic River in years, but when I did I think I drew into a recluse state for at least a day or two. This is the very definition of a dark story. The story revolves around three men Jimmy Marcus, Sean Devine, and Dave Boyle, all men who grew up in the same city, briefly had been friends in their childhood, and still, more or less, run in the same circles when they grow up. Yet there is still a divergence that marks them, constant remembrance of the paths they ought to be on instead stemming a traumatic event in their childhood when Dave is kidnapped by two child molesters for four days. Since the Sean finds himself obsessed with justice and becomes a police officer; Jimmy is wayward, a young father and the master of a crime family; Dave seems utterly lost, briefly a baseball star and since wandering without motivation. It’s a gritty Boston-Irish tragedy, much like The Departed, and tragedy only continues when Jimmy Marcus’ 19 teen year old daughter Katie, goes missing and later discovered to have been murdered. These three men and the others in their lives find themselves searching for answers and someone to blame as the mystery of her death becomes more riddled with complications.

I really quite loved this story. It is desperately sad, completely chock full of moments where I beg the characters to find reason, to stop, or even, just to listen. But at the same time the story challenges us to not make assumptions, to place ourselves in their shoes to see if we would really, truly do anything differently.

Recently I rewatched the film What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, and found it and Mystic River coincided painfully in their themes of entrapment, of the cycles of poverty or powerlessness that just continue and roll on seemingly forever. Where does it stop? Where will it ever stop?

Books read: 19

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2 responses to “Mystic River, Dennis Lehane

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