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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.