All The Way Home

Fiction - Inspirational
122 Pages
Reviewed on 10/04/2019
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Kristy Vee for Readers' Favorite

Med student Sharon can’t seem to shake the haunting memories of her Baba and what happened that fateful day, despite all she’s done to move on with her life and make a difference in the world. Just when the gnawing pain in her heart couldn’t get worse, she gets a call from Nai that will change her life and her already torn apart family’s life forever. Her rock, her other half, her precious twin brother Jared is gone. As she heads back home to California to deal with the aftermath of this gut-wrenching loss, she’s flooded with memory after memory of the past. As she struggles to cope, she overhears a conversation between her mother and Nai and discovers a whole new way of looking at her family, herself, and the bonds of love, healing, and hope.

All The Way Home by Felicia Hsu is a touching story of familial bonds and how deeply they can affect one’s life when there are many unanswered questions and a need for closure. All The Way Home is well-written, finely paced, and the author writes in such a way that you can’t help but get attached to the characters. My favorite is intelligent, sensitive Sharon who hasn’t lost her compassion for others despite the raw pain she carries in her heart and I found myself genuinely rooting for this family. Also, I like how the author gave Jared such a likable, strong voice within the story even though he had passed away. You can definitely feel the love and bond between the twins throughout the book. It was a pleasure reading this book. Five stars.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Memories of that haunting experience when, as a child, Sharon discovers the body of her father dead by suicide, continue as nightmares well into her adulthood as she pursues her dream to become a doctor. While her twin brother, Jared, is living on borrowed time due to cystic fibrosis, he continues to encourage her. The two are strongly connected; a bond that cannot be broken. Even after Jared’s death, he is still with Sharon as she struggles to come to terms with the dysfunctional family across the continent: a mother whom she believes abandoned her and Jared after her father’s death and a grandmother who tries to bring the remaining family back together. Leaving behind the hectic routine of long hours in the hospital, Sharon must travel home to California to help lay her brother to rest. He talks to her along the way and she finds consolation in the conversations they have in her head and the words she reads in the journals he’s left behind. The healing process is a long, difficult one, and the journey it takes Sharon on leads her to a reunion and a resolution she never expected to happen.

Felicia Hsu’s passionate novel, All the Way Home, explores the conflicting emotions that can tear apart a family or bind them together. The bond between twins is well defined and is the anchor that binds. The plot leads the reader through the news of Jared’s death, the return home, the preparation for the funeral and the funeral itself. The intensity of emotions explored is well developed and the reader aches along with the main character, Sharon. Family can be a difficult conundrum and when tragedy strikes, the family can either splinter apart or bind more strongly together. The author explores both scenarios, the breaking of family ties after one tragedy and the reunion after another. A powerful story about family and the ties that bind.

Viga Boland

Weddings and funerals...both occasions bring families together, often reuniting loved ones who, for whatever reason, have become estranged. In Felicia Hsu’s inspirational novel, All the Way Home, it’s the passing of the protagonist’s twin brother Jared that brings Sharon, her mother and her grandmother Nai together. But Sharon and her mother, both doctors, haven’t spoken in years. Sharon carries deep resentment for the mother she feels abandoned her and her brother after their father committed suicide. Now, with Jared’s passing, Sharon is forced to address those feelings, but in doing so, she learns the real truth behind why her father committed suicide and why her mother left the job of raising her own children with Nai. She also discovers a side to her beloved twin brother that she never knew. But above all, she finds a lot more about her real self, a self she hasn’t wanted to acknowledge. Does she come away liking what she learns? That is for you, the reader to find out.

As described, All the Way Home is an inspirational story. It’s very well written but it’s also short...and that’s a good thing. Why? Because the emotions felt by both the narrator and the reader are intense. Much of the story is reflective narrative, often sad, but lightened by the positive and humorous character of Jared with whom Sharon carries on conversations even after he’s gone. Just as he did in life, Jared counsels her, gives her a nudge when she needs it and tells her to chill out when she’s letting everything get on top of her. Her beloved grandmother, Nai, in true Asian fashion is all-knowing and wise, and once Sharon’s mom is finally able to fill in the blanks, the ending comes like the calm after the storm. I think any of us who have harbored negative feelings about our relatives without a full understanding of why they spoke or acted as they did will appreciate the unfolding of All the Way Home. It’s impossible not to see ourselves in this small cast of characters who keep their secrets and fears to themselves, thereby shutting out those who love and need them most. A beautiful story, beautifully told.