Published by Counterpoint on March 20th 2018
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The “Gunners” were a group of childhood friends (Mickey, Sally, Sam, Alice, Jimmy, Lynn) who named themselves after the family who owned the old abandoned house they hung out with. They were inseparable and had many adventures together, until one day Sally, broke apart from the group and never spoke to any of them. Losing one member, eventually drove them apart as the grew up and moved away. Mickey and Sally were the only ones who remained in their hometown, but still, they did not speak, and their paths did not cross.
Mickey, now thirty-year-old, has been told that due to his macular degeneration, he will be losing his sight. As he prepares for a life of darkness, he learns that Sally has committed suicide. The Gunners return to town for Sally’s funeral and confront the past. Each sharing their memories and informing the other of some of their secrets – secrets only Sally knew. Mickey also has secrets- secrets about his past, his relationship with his father and questions that were never answered in his youth.
This plot is simple yet heartfelt and powerful at the same time. Our friends often become our “family” and what happens when one member of your family leaves you. People often confide their secrets to their friends – but what happens when you keep secrets from your friends? The book focuses on secrets and how they can affect, and change lives. The burden of carrying secrets, of being secretive and the reasons for keeping things from those who are close to us weigh on individuals. As the group gathers to mourn one of their own, they also learn forgiveness, strengthen their bonds and face the truth together.
Wonderfully written, this book may have the reader reflecting on his/her childhood and childhood friends. Some may be able to relate, and some may see his/herself in some of the characters. This book has a sense of nostalgia. As the book transitions between childhood and adulthood, it is easy to become invested in these character’s lives. We get to know two of the characters more than the other’s- Mickey being the main character. Even though not all the characters receive equal billing, we are shown enough to care about them and their secrets.
Reward and thought provoking, the Gunners does not disappoint.