After the murder of 16-year-old Ryan Williams, his mother, Marcia, is consumed by grief as she struggles to find answers to his killing.
“How is it possible for my son to have been doing all the right things, that as parents, Lloydie and I, we were doing all the right things and yet still Ryan is dead?” Marcia can't stop wondering. In the days after Ryan’s death, there are many things Marcia can't stop doing. She can't break the habit of going into Ryan’s room “like I went in there when my son was alive, to hurry his getting ready or shoo him down to breakfast." She can't stop crying. But Marcia must shutter away her sadness and tears from her husband, Lloydie, who's grown withdrawn and separate and won't even attend the trial of their son’s murderer, Tyson Manley, with her. The question of how—and why—Ryan met his death is the driving question as the courtroom drama progresses. “I don’t know if his growth spurt had ended, will never know the exact height my son would have achieved as a man,” Marcia thinks, when seeing the bulky form of her son’s murderer in the courtroom. And as the trial of Tyson Manley comes to an end, Marcia and all who loved Ryan struggle to keep faith in both justice and healing. Here are beautifully drawn characters anchored in the universal experiences of love, loss, and grieving. With subtle nuance and elegant precision, Edwards (A Cupboard Full of Coats, 2012) crafts a richly detailed world that holds up the great weight that bears down on it: the death of a child.
But, ultimately, the lack of resolution leaves the reader with a lingering sense of the unfinished.