Review by Nancy
In a world of long lived Catholicism the choices are never easy. When the oldest son, the “Golden Boy” is terribly injured no one knows where to turn except the Church. The Church, as often happens; falls short. By a mile or two.
In Shared Emptiness, author John Brinling shows us both sides of the coin. The daughter, outshone on every level by her older brother, who clings to Mass as a life jacket. Mom who has grown up in the Church and feels herself damned for thinking of killing her only son. Dad who isn’t as strict on going to Mass (even if right across the street) but loves to play the horses and loves his family even if he does a piss-poor job of showing it. Then the aunts and uncles and cousins weigh in and they are as torn as the Carters. They have their own issues of pregnancies, dead children, unloved spouses and are getting no answers there, either.
Chris Carter somehow kept this whole group connected. He wasn’t a staunch Catholic, either’ but his grins and personality tied them all up in a nice, neat bow and delivered them to each other. When Chris is hurt and ultimately survives in a vegetative state; everyone at one time or another thinks of pulling his plug. Can one of them actually do it and face retribution from God? Can his agnostic fiancé get up the nerve to free herself from a lifetime of servitude?
This book brings to light many levels of compulsion from the Church, each other and our parents. Brinling has written a special novel and I do encourage all of you to read it. It’s a large story, but it needs to be to explain our needs and wants through the Carter family and its satellite characters.