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Reviewed by Bernadette Longu for Readers' Favorite
Those Around Him by Brett Shapiro is a very unusual book but catches your interest from the first page to the last. The time period is 2019 in Florida sometime before Hurricane Dorian hit the coast. The main characters in this book are Andrew, Charles, his father, Sheila, his sister, and Alex aka Lex or Ex, the stranger on the beach. Andrew's mother Edith died at the age of 79. Andrew’s father Charles is 85 years old. This book holds your attention due to the way the story unfolds around these characters, their thoughts, feelings, problems, and history. It showcases how this family evolved over the years to the present day and how their interactions and their lives have shaped them and molded them into the people they are.
Those Around Him by Brett Shapiro tells a story about five people who are totally different characters, but they all have one thing in common - their anger against their upbringing, their parents, siblings, and the world in general. It plays out just before Hurricane Dorian hits the Florida Coast, bringing the book to an unexpected and surprising end and leaving the reader to draw the final conclusion. I found the end of the book amazing as the author left it up to the reader to decide how they would want it to end. The last chapters are Andrew's thoughts as to how he would like his life to play out with Ex as Hurricane Dorian hits. This is a book that has to be read from cover to cover as it covers a range of emotions and feelings that we are inclined to bury deep inside and then when they are let out, we aim them at the wrong people. I found it fascinating how anger can build up over the years and be suppressed but when released is aimed at the wrong person and only after the damage has been done do we want that person back in our lives. Thank you, Brett, for a very insightful read. I really enjoyed it.