I do not give away five-star ratings lightly. This book EARNED it. Every step of the way. Mystic River is a heartbreaking, suspenseful story about three childhood friends (as close as three 11-year-old boys can be for about a year) who are torn apart by a terrifying event that changes their lives forever.
We quickly flash forward 25 years. The boys are now men – with their own lives and families. They each have their own demons to face throughout the book. A horrific, deeply personal murder occurs and brings Sean, Jimmy and Dave back together.
Man oh man this book is VISCERAL. A gloomy, desolate tone is set early on and it never lets up. It feels like you’re viewing the events through a smudged lens. The grief in this book is palpable – each man has something he’s lost (some losses are more raw and cut deeper than others, of course).
There’s a lot to be said about blame and the need for closure here. One character in particular – I found myself not liking him throughout the majority of the book, and then I felt so terrible for him and so deeply sad for how his life turned out. This book will make you feel things. Uncomfortable things. Sad, hopeless things.
Maybe I’m just 20 years late to the party, but if you haven’t read Mystic River yet I urge you to give it a try. (And I plan on watching the movie soon!)