These Things Happen

A Novel

Fiction - Literary
276 Pages
Reviewed on 09/19/2023
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Author Biography

Michael Eon earned a BA in psychology from the University of Michigan and an MA in international affairs from Columbia University. A former board member of the Audio Publishers Association and a former producer of major motion pictures and television productions, Michael worked in the publishing and entertainment industries for more than twenty years. Michael discovered the core of this story through the cathartic processing of autobiographical memories, following its evolution into this novel of redemption and recovery. Originally from the New York area, he currently lives in New Hampshire with his family. These Things Happen is his first novel.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

These Things Happen by Michael Eon revolves around the life of Daniel Zimmer and the challenges he faces, centered on family dynamics, addiction, and personal growth. After a devastating opening scene, the story shifts between periods of Daniel's life, from tense family memories to Daniel's attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings and both old and new interactions with friends and family. Tragedy strikes when death occurs in an accident, leading to guilt and a reliance on self-medicating. Daniel's journey through addiction and recovery continues, marked by moments of relapse and self-reflection. With his relationship with his brother Max severely strained, and the declining health of his childhood friend and wife Brie continuing, Daniel's only chance at recovery will require complete surrender and the turning of his life over to a higher power.

Michael Eon does an incredible job of transporting readers to specific moments in New York City's past, creating a visual atmosphere through descriptions of its neighborhoods, his characters' roles in them, and the music scene in These Things Happen. From drives home after getting fresh haircuts and listening to ball games on the radio to the seven-floor walk-up apartment in Brooklyn that Daniel shares with Jill, they all feel real. Eon is also skilled in applying symbolism in nuanced ways, such as the interpretation of the song Dreamer Deceiver to explore the difficulty of adolescence, identity, and the allure of escapism, and champagne flutes that run the double edge of celebration and temptation. I grew up in urban San Francisco and even though the landmarks were different, the energy of being a child in a city that will eat you up, if you let it, seeps through the pages. Overall, this is an excellent piece of literary fiction. Very highly recommended.

Rabia Tanveer

These Things Happen by Michael Eon is the coming-of-age story of Daniel Zimmer as he takes the reader through the ups and downs of living with addiction and its consequences. Daniel grew up in Brooklyn during the 70s in strange social circumstances. With an abusive addict father at home, Daniel and his brothers found solace in music. However, things took a bad turn when a tragedy struck their family and changed everything. Instead of focusing on his future, Daniel took comfort in alcohol from an early age. Things started to collapse one by one. Daniel reached his breaking point when one of his brothers committed suicide, and he was left scrambling in the aftermath. Before he knew it, Daniel had a choice: he could either let his past consume him or make changes that would help him grow.

What an experience! These Things Happen was a very interesting and comforting story to read. The narrative was beautifully constructed and gave the reader ample opportunity to become fully invested in Daniel’s story. The constant jump between the past and present was handled beautifully and gave me so much joy. The social parallels, the family dynamic, and Daniel’s emotional turmoil were expressed in the most realistic way. Author Michael Eon used his words very carefully to paint pictures with his descriptions. I was transported right next to Daniel as he struggled with his addiction, emotional state, and current predicament. I was hoping for him to pick up his trumpet and find that passion once again. The pace was right and the feel of the story was great and had me immersed. The reflection on how hard life can get for some of us really hit home. These Things Happen is a must-read!

K.C. Finn

These Things Happen is a novel penned by author Michael Eon in the literary style, emotive writing, and slice-of-life subgenres. It is best suited to adult readers. The work is raw and compelling as it delves into the complexities of addiction, family dynamics, and the search for redemption. Set against the backdrop of 1970s Brooklyn, the story follows Daniel Zimmer as he navigates a tumultuous upbringing marked by a tyrannical father and the traumatic events of the era, including the Son of Sam murders and the Karen Ann Quinlan tragedy. Daniel's descent into alcoholism is portrayed with painful honesty, and the narrative takes readers on a journey through the highs and lows of his struggle.

Author Michael Eon's writing is evocative and emotionally charged, capturing the essence of Brooklyn in the 1970s and the music scene that provided solace for Daniel and his brother Max. What makes this book truly stand out is its unflinching portrayal of addiction's grip on a person's life. The book doesn't shy away from the dark and destructive aspects of addiction, making it a powerful and relatable read for anyone who has faced similar challenges. I also really enjoyed the craftsmanship in the flashbacks that weave through the narrative, which were a unique touch that added depth to Daniel's character, allowing readers to understand the root of his pain and guilt. Despite these darker moments, the novel is a story of hope and redemption that resonates long after the final page is turned, reminding us that, despite life's trials, it's possible to find a path toward healing and recovery. Overall, I would not hesitate to recommend These Things Happen as an accomplished literary drama with much to offer.