Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Book Review: "The Weight of a Moment" by Michael Bowe

"...most lifetimes could be summed up by ten to twenty moments, meaningful snippets ranging from a handful of seconds to a few spins around the clock face that contained both the best and worst of one's character and experiences. Like a home movie on Super 8 film, twenty impactful moments that told the story of a life. Often those moments were first glances, tearful goodbyes, fortunate turns, unfortunate accidents, promises kept, promises broken, triumphs, failures, and regrets."

We often do not recognize the most profound moments in our lives until after they've passed us by. Sometimes they are defined by actual occurrences, while other times they are defined by connections.

When Nick Sterling and Tom Corbett meet one day in a small Pennsylvania town, they have no idea how that encounter will change both of their lives. Nick is a prize-winning journalist who unwittingly causes a man's death because of something he published. He can do nothing more than flee his old life, although he is left with feelings of guilt every day. Tom is an antiques dealer who realizes the indelible reach and effect of the internet, when a video of him melting down on a group of college students after he experienced a difficult day goes viral and jeopardizes his livelihood, his marriage, and his relationship with his family.

Tom has fled to the small town of Shelbyville after he inherits a farm from his uncle. While his initial intention is to check out the situation and leave again, something compels him to want to renovate the dilapidated farm. He and Nick start working on it, and in the process, two men from different walks of life, with different philosophies, become friends. In the midst of their work on the farm they uncover some long-hidden secrets in Tom's family, and then they make an amazing discovery of their own on the farmland, one that has real impact in their lives.

The Weight of a Moment is an interesting, powerful read for many reasons. How many of us haven't had a "bad moment" when we've done something we've regretted? How many of us feel utterly crushed under the ramifications of our mistakes?

In his second novel (after the terrific Skyscraper of a Man), Michael Bowe explores the way relationships unfold, how they can lift us at our darkest of times, and help to heal us. Not many novels explore the psyche of men when they've been dealt a major blow, and Bowe does a great job with this exploration.

Above all, the greatest strength of this novel are Bowe's characters, which are complex, flawed, and feel tremendously genuine. This is one of those books that draws you in immediately and doesn't let you go. There was one plot twist I didn't particularly love, but for the most part this is a well-told, emotional story that will stay in my mind for a long time after it's done.

The author gave me a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available.

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