Skip to main content

A Book Review: Someone Else's Son by Sam Hayes



For every parent out there who is juggling busy schedules with family life, especially managing kids who are going to college, this book opens up their inner worries with deep insights. As parents, we justify our busy schedules to ourselves in various names like 'deadlines' or 'appraisal time' etc. But ultimately, the choices that we as parents make go a long way in the growth and happiness of our kids. There is no point of hiding behind excuses. Parents have to own up and take responsibility for the choices they made for their kids and how that has impacted the kids.


To come to the book, Sam Hayes 'Someone Else's Son' is a gripping thriller which asks every parent one simple, life-changing question: Do we really know our children? We think we do but we really don't. 


The opening chapter itself is gripping. It reads like this:


"Before she knew what was happening, the knife was in and out of his body...It cut through the air, mesmerising them, slowing their lives, condensing everything to the beautiful moments before it started..."


"The vinegar from the chips till stung her lips."

In this gripping story, Carrie Kent is a household name whose daily morning TV show is about people whose real lives have faced some type of serious tragedy and she rocks the boat further by questioning their choices, values and everything else, putting the victims into a real dilemma. She does this with the confidence that most of us have that 'this tragedy will happen to someone else, not me." But tragedy strikes when her own teenage son Max is stabbed in college by a gang of boys and he dies. Carrie Kent falls apart, wondering what she had done wrong, what her son had done wrong to deserve such a cruel end to his young life and it throws up the dynamics of their turbulent relationship as parent and child. 


Topping it all is the fact that Carrie and Brody, her husband, a famous mathematician, are separated and living extremely opposite lives, in which Max remains at the corner of the edges, wondering desperately why his life was so messed up and empty. 


Carrie goes in search of the only eyewitness to her son's death - Dayna, a girl who was as much a social outcast in college as her son was. It is then Carrie gets to know that Dayna was also her son's girlfriend. It strikes her that her son had kept it as a secret from her. It hurts her that while she was prying into other people's lives on reality show, her own son's life had been a mystery to her.


But Dayna is in a state of shock and Carrie wants to get her to talk. It isn't easy for Carrie, knowing that Dayna knows more about her son than she herself did. The two women realize that each knows Max differently and now wants to know Max through the other's eyes. As Carrie digs out the past, she understands one thing: her son had been unhappy and his parents who could have made a difference hadn't understood it at all. Their failure had ultimately led him to his fall.


In a touching conversation, Brody asks his wife, "Have you ever once in your self-absorbed, precious life that consists only of Carrie Kent and more Carrie Kent, have you ever really considered how universally shattered and distant the three of us actually are....were..." 


For every parent out there, this book offers pain, heartache and tension but it also tells you subtly that there is no magic wand that parents can use to help kids. There is, however, an effective tool called 'listening' because when you listen to your kids deeply, it makes them feel more valued and loved.


It's definitely a very emotionally moving book. Do read it. 

Comments

Thamizhmaangani said…
wow! thanks for the review! I really wanna read this book:)
shooting star said…
thnaks for the review!!

http://sushmita-smile.blogspot.in/
Insignia said…
Thanks, I will pick this up sometime. Seems a good grab :)

Most Popular Posts

The Ugly Truth about Caste in Kerala

Many years ago, when I wrote this post on Kerala's caste system, I had not considered the possibility that my thoughts and my personal journey would receive such online abuse or that I would be seen as some one who was trying to insult other castes. The intention of writing is always to share an experience and not to insult others. My experience of motherhood and marriage would be different from yours. When I write about my experience, it is illogical to shout that as being insulting to your experience because our journeys are entirely different narratives. 

My question is - why do you ABUSE any caste or person here? You are free to disagree but why do you ABUSE? How does that reflect on YOU?

In my article, I shared what trials I went through, without any intention to insult any community.The intention of my article is to question - why are we even exchanging insults over an issue called caste? 

Should we not be aspiring to be above caste considerations instead of abusing each other …

Mahamrityunjaya Mantra: Meaning, Benefit of Chanting and Who can Chant the Mantra

There are very few mantras that are as powerful as the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra. [ALSO READ: How to NEVER EVER GIVE UP on the spiritual path]

Mahamrityunjaya Mantra: Benefit of chanting this mantra
This mantra is believed to have the power to remove all sufferings, diseases and bestow the one who chants it with good health and long life. It is also believed that constant contemplation of the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra can help spiritual aspirants to overcome the cycle of birth and death.
What got me fascinated about this mantra is something personal.  I learned this mantra from my father but it is my maternal grandmother who chanted it all the time and repeatedly told me of its tremendous power to protect. However, I did not chant this mantra regularly. [ Do READ: THE POWER OF LOVE]
But at the age of two, my son was taught some mantras by my mother who explained what it means to him and he became very enthusiastic about chanting the mantras. Following this, my mother taught him the Maha Mrity…

Amazing Signs You are an Earth Angel

Doreen Virtue’s book, “Assertiveness for Earth Angels” brings to life the reality of Earth Angels in very easy way. It’s an exciting must-read! 

[DO READ: The POWER OF LOVE]

Earth Angels have amazing superpowers in: MusicArtsWriting HealingManifesting miracles for others such as controlling weather conditions and  becoming invisible at will.
[MUST READ: A Dad's Advice to the Daughter He loves]
DO READ: ASK MORE, FEAR LESS.

How to Identify Earth Angels by their Traits
To know whether you are an Earth Angel, take a look at their known traits that are explained in this book:


You have a graceful and compassionate aura that inspires people.Your presence “lifts” everyone to happier spirits – it is proof of who you really are.You don’t judge others but you overdo the “acceptance” bit. So, you tolerate even those who show no respect for boundaries.You cannot stand anyone suffering or being in pain. You are constantly “rescuing people” because it is in your nature to want to see everyone happy in …

Top 10 Skincare tips for Summer

Come summer, and we women worry a lot about how the sun lashes out on our skin. True, skincare tips for the summer are plenty but what about the hushed secrets - yes, those tried and tested family secrets that are passed on from mother to daughters? [ALSO READ: How to NEVER EVER GIVE UP on the spiritual path]




Here are some that are totally easy to do. Best of all, these are effective and bring on a feel-good factor in the peak of summer.

1. Replace water with rosewater. It keeps your skin luminous and fragrant throughout the day. It's a good toner too.

2. Cleanse your skin by combining these ingredients - honey, milk, rosewater/rosepetals and turmeric. Add a dash of olive oil and yes, it feels wonderful.

3. Almond oil body baths are a must-have! You will smell delicious all day. This summer, skip all those body lotions & moisturizers! You will love the way almond oil pampers your skin all day!

4. Use a mixture of almond oil and olive oil for your feet. Your feet will sparkle an…

A Dad's advice to the daughter he loves: Be yourself, remember you are special and treasure your strengths

Just a week ago, Dad gave me a very emotional pep talk at the Bangalore airport. The good thing is that whenever I feel emotionally vulnerable or stressed out, I replay Dad's conversation. It lifts me up and instantly brings a huge smile to my face. That's my Dad - yeah! 




As a teenager, Bangalore used to be one of my favorite cities though the garden city was not as ''global'' and ''vibrant'' as it is today. It was a pretty cool place to go shopping for stylish accessories, not that I could splurge and go crazy with shopping but I could do so on a limited budget. So, I used to look forward to our summer trips to Bangalore, from where we would head out to Whitefield. 

The busy, broad streets, the scent of street food and the vibrant atmosphere had always perked me up every time I reached Bangalore. Be it heading to Puttaparthi or Whitefield, my parents and I have traveled to Bangalore so many times that it became a kind of ''routine'…

Childhood is the best part of life

Memories have a funny way of coming back into my head, sometimes when I am about to get ready to go to work or sometimes like a flash from the past. It happens to me all the time - swathes of childhood memories flooding back. This time, as the first touches of winter began to make itself felt in Delhi, I went on a trip to Goa with my son and close friends. From the moment I landed in Goa till I got back, I was on a happy high, like a teenager who's going on a much awaited holiday.  Let me tell you a funny thing. I even went and bought myself a swimming costume to wear for the first time since my teenage years but guess what? The funniest part comes now - I never got to wear it. Maybe the idea was just to feel like a teenager again as I am growing older, not wiser! Hahaha!  [MUST-READ: Mahashivaratri - I'm loving it!]



[Image: Pexels]

The Goa trip was an incredible experience that took me back to where I really came from, where my heart has always been - Blantyre. That's where…

Mumbai Police Movie Review: Prithviraj breaks the typical 'hero' mold, challenges sexual stereotyping

Exploring a completely different dimension in his latest film Mumbai Police, Director Rosshan Anddrews delivers a fast-paced, thriller film after his award winning fims such as Udayananu Tharam, Notebook and others.



To flesh out the script written by Boby Sanjay, Rosshan Anddrews ropes in actors such as Prithviraj, Rahman and Jayasurya to portray three police officers: Antony Moses, Farhan and Aryan respectively.
The story begins with a phone call that Antony Moses (starring Prithviraj) makes to Farhan (starring Rahman) saying that he has solved the murder mystery of Aryan (starring Jayasurya). Just as he says this, there is an accident and Antony Moses loses his memory. From then, Farhan's attempt is to take Antony through people and places that are likely to trigger his memory so that they can solve the murder of their close friend and colleague Aryan. A series of events happen, almost hurtling us towards it.
And I am taking the liberty to hand out trophies for the following:
'M…

Conversation with a friend: How to deal with the death of a loved one and Three Lessons I learned

The simplest lessons are always the toughest to learn.This December, a classmate passed away and I was totally shocked to hear the news. Another shock came my way. I heard that another classmate's husband had passed away and when I received the news, I felt very deeply for her.
[Image: Pexels.com]
1. Reach Out, Show You Care and Be Honest
For me, my classmate is someone whom I had shared countless jokes and conversations with when we were young. Our conversations and happy moments have never faded though we have become different individuals with completely different journeys in life.  So, yes, I plucked up the courage to call and show that I am with my friend through this moment of grief. The experience of the conversation we had humbled me like a lesson of life and the blessing was that I felt much lighter within. 

2. Honour the need of others to grieve in their way
I believe that the ''body'' alone perishes but not the soul. I don't offer my beliefs  to those who …

Six Happiness Lessons I learned from a Baby in a Boutique

Happiness is a strange thing, at least in my life. It is always the little things that bring a big smile to my face, not that I have any big things lined up in my life.  But I must confess that happiness is not what I expected to feel when I popped into the neighborhood's busiest boutique! 
[READ: A Dad's Advice to the Daughter He Loves]


Last evening, I had just dropped in to collect some materials that I had given for stitching at the boutique. Besides long traffic jams on the route,  I was stressed out. I needed to complete some paperwork at the private bank and that had just got done at the last minute. I had to pick up groceries on the way and the list was pretty long. Then I had to reach my son before a certain time as per schedule.
So, when I spotted a baby in the boutique, I felt instantly happy.  As our gazes locked, the three-month-old beauty began to smile, stretch her tiny palms to me and our eyes locked for several minutes.  She began to push herself more towards me…

Five ways to take charge of your anger

“It is wise to direct your anger towards problems -- not people; to focus your energies on answers -- not excuses.” ― William Arthur Ward
Every day, the newspaper headlines are full of scary stories of people killing each other over trivial things - mostly these incidents happen when individuals lose their temper and turn violent. In traffic jams across Noida in the evenings, people don't hesitate to walk out and hit each other.  At workplaces, colleagues lose their temper and say things that they regret later. During holidays with loved ones, small things set us off and we say things that damage relationships forever. No one stops anyone. Everyone likes a big, bad fight. It's great to vent. After all, what's the big deal about getting angry? After all, if you cannot express what pisses you off, how can you call yourself human? 


Does anger solve your problems? You know the answer!

If anger solved all the problems in the world, this world would have been a perfect place centur…