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Reviewed by Jessica Barbosa for Readers' Favorite
Accidental Lives by Howard Reiss tells the story of twenty-six-year-old Cole, who has a college degree and a good job in the accounting department of a major corporation. He is paralyzed for life when a ninety-two-year-old driver turned right in front of him without warning. Cole’s mother calls attorney Lou Clasen to take on his case. Lou has been through his share of tragedies. In some ways, he and Cole are the opposite sides of a coin. Their stories come together in this one tragic incident and move forward toward a future neither was expecting.
Howard Reiss knows how to tell a story. The first chapter grabbed my attention from its first introduction of Cole and kept a tight hold on my interest right to the very end. This drama focuses on two viewpoints (and one special character’s viewpoint at the end) and allows us a deep glimpse into the emotional and mental state of Cole, and attorney Lou Clasen, who went into law because it is a relationship that would never end, unlike the one he had with his true love. Reading this tale highlights many aspects of what life is like for some, if not most people. Often life is unfair and we get through it by either making the most of it or by simply giving up. This is best expressed by the two main characters. Lou has experienced heartbreak and disappointment and is not much of an optimist when it comes to love. Cole has been through his share of trials. The sense of loss and devastation he feels is intense and I admire Howard Reiss for being able to skillfully convey his emotions from the first-person point of view.
Overall, this is a story filled with grief, sadness, and hope. Accidental Lives brought out such fierce emotions in me and reading through each character’s story has taught me that life is not easy most of the time. Life can beat you down and sometimes it is difficult to get back up; sometimes it is just easier to lie down again. Life is made up of choices and there are times when we choose the wrong answers but sometimes there is hope that you choose the right one next time.