Goods & Effects


Fiction - Literary
176 Pages
Reviewed on 03/12/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Soumya Sreehari for Readers' Favorite

How do you cope when you lose your entire family? By opening a warehouse on wheels, of course! Hannah Mercer does exactly that in Al Schnupp’s Goods & Effects. As she rebuilds her life with her store-on-wheels, she lives many lives with the people she meets on her routes. Darla – the deaf artist, Velma – the brilliant woodworker, Vivian – the industrious librarian, LeRoy – the hidden musician – all of them have stories to tell and lives to share with Hannah. Goods & Effects captures the beauty of rural life vividly and beautifully. Spread over a span of over 20 years, the community at Adele comes alive through Hannah’s interactions with it. Set in the 1960s to the 1980s, Hannah’s story is a refreshing read. The twists and turns say a lot and leave a lot unsaid. Pick up this book to experience the richness of life through a clever woman’s eyes.

In the introduction section of Goods & Effects, author Al Schnupp comments that this story was conceived as a screenplay. What a wonderful movie it could be! The setting, the characters, the development are all extremely well crafted. As much as I enjoyed reading the book, I believe it will make a great movie too. For some reason, it reminded me of Steel Magnolias. Hannah Mercer is a woman to be reckoned with. The reinvention of her life after loss touched me greatly. The life she builds, the people she meets, the lives she touches and allows herself to be touched by – these could be stories of anyone. The emotions the stories evoked are real, deep, and timeless. Al has done a brilliant job of capturing the tapestry of Hannah’s life over more than two decades. I recommend it highly for a refreshing read on slices of life.

Lit Amri

In Goods & Effects by Al Schnupp, the death of her husband and sons left Hannah Mercer feeling lonely and defeated in life. Still, she's determined to move on and sells the family home - much to the surprise and confusion of those who know her - and turns her husband's truck into a store and her new home. Four days a week, she travels on her usual routes and sells her wares. People are intrigued and welcome her visits as Hannah becomes the central figure who connects the lives of several individuals around her.

Goods & Effects is about life itself; how to live with loss and pain, and later undertake a search for recovery and purpose. The ordinary moments hide grand life lessons and experiences, ready to be discovered and cherished. The characters are eclectic and wonderfully relatable, complementing Schnupp's frank narrative that is at times raw and touching. Evocative descriptions of otherwise mundane moments make the reading even more engrossing. It's easy to root for Hannah but Darla, the talented deaf artist, captured my attention right away. Being hearing-impaired makes her a better spectator of people, adding a layer of unique complexity to her personality and friendship with Hannah. The story is a tender perspective about human strength and flaws, a moving portrait of what can be lost and gained in return. While there are several, albeit subtle, tense and dramatic scenes, Goods & Effects is ultimately about treasuring life, rediscovering and questioning humanity, and the will to keep moving on.

Vernita Naylor

Life brings about all types of changes but what do you do when you lose your husband and children all at the same time? This beautiful, touching story, Goods & Effects by Al Schnupp, which was initially a screenplay, reflects the journey of Hannah Mercer as she makes various decisions on how she will now live her life after the deaths of her family. Riddled with guilt and the mystery over their deaths, she must decide whether she will let life overtake and consume her or flow with the new normal and make a positive change. For Hannah, there is no more preserving fresh tomatoes in Mason jars or looking to someone else for advice - she is all alone. Well, she was not actually alone; she still had Five Paws at her side who has become a trusted companion. The reader will experience motivation, persistence, love, and humanity as they continue walking with Hannah over the years through her new life.

Change can either be beautiful or frightening, depending upon your perspective. In this book, I enjoyed how the author outlined the various aspects of how Hannah was able to connect with so many throughout her journey in helping her to overcome her loss. Over the years she was able to learn so much about herself and others and develop a new and different understanding of the world around her. Goods & Effects by Al Schnupp is a human interest story due to the various people like Nathan, Wanda, Larry, Vivian, Dewey, Velma, Naomi, and Frank that all gradually became an intricate part of Hannah's new life over the years. With each step Hannah allowed herself to face some things that she would not have otherwise discovered. Get a copy of this book to add to your library.