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

Mahadmrityunjaya Mantra: Benefit of chanting this mantra nee

There are very few mantras that are as powerful as the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra. Do read my post: Does Mahamrityunajaya mantra really work?Of course, it does but you need to undertstand the meaning and significance of the mantra first.
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 becam…

Sage Tiruvalluvar's golden advice on how friendship affects your life

Ruzbeh N Bharucha's latest book, ICE with Very Unusual Spirits, is a book that I have absolutely enjoyed reading. While reading every chapter, I began to contemplate a lot on the friendships in my life, as the book blends in some of the most valuable teachings of Sage Tiruvalluvar and Sai Baba of Shirdi. The essence of the book revolves around true friendship and how it can make us not just more human but it can make us divine beings too.




As human beings, we thrive on friendship. These days, I've started wondering, ''Is there real friendship out there?'' From experiences that span four decades now (yeah, I am that old!), I am beginning to wonder about the authenticity of most ''friendships.'' [Do read: How to Console a Friend who Lost her Spouse]

A friend whom we knew since childhood days invites us home for dinner but when we visit, we don't get served dinner, but popcorn. Our mistake? We arrived in an auto, instead of a taxi (it is a differe…

Why love matters - Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh has an amazing insight to share!

What is love? It means different things to different people. 

Have you thought about it? Do read: POWER OF LOVE

When a mother loves her child, have you noticed that the mother's love doesn't change with time or place or even when a child does not reciprocate it? 

Perhaps there is none of the ''my happiness', 'my priority', 'my desires' sort of mentality in the relationship. There is an element of being desireless, in the sense, that the mother wants no material or physical gain from the relationship. The mother may have big dreams of her child becoming X,Y and Z but not necessarily to materially benefit from this. Being itself is enough. 'Being a Mother' is tinged with a sense of happiness despite all the daily struggles and challenges that it brings.

Typically a mother is so engrossed and involved in raising her child, without a sense of a separation of the Self. In a sense, everything else ceases to matter. That kind of love doesn't change…

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 …

Ravi Shankar Etteth's novel 'The Brahmin' unravels secrets and mysteries of Mauryan Empire under Emperor Asoka

Set with thrilling historical details and unforgettable characters, Ravi Shankar Etteth's novel 'The Brahmin' kept me glued from start to finish.  The story of 'The Brahmin' revolves around a skillful and ruthless spymaster of Emperor Asoka's court, whose intelligence and cunning helps him to unravel a dangerous mystery of the 'Blood Flower' unfolding across the corridors of power.  


What is it about 'The Brahmin' that allows him to be treated almost an equal by Emperor Asoka?  He even commands the respect of Queen Asandhimitra, who comes to his advice as a friend. Her emotional dependence on 'the Brahmin' is clear as crystal, further strengthened in the narrative through scenes where it seems that she secretly adores the man who can safeguard her husband's powerful empire as well as command the loyalty of Greek soldiers like Antochlius.
More interestingly, the portrayal of powerful and fearless women warriors like Hao and beautiful en…

A Book Review: Custody by Manju Kapur

Manju Kapur's fifth novel – following her highly acclaimed works such as Difficult Daughters (1998) and The Immigrant (2009) – explores the tumultous relationships once again set in the thriving, upper-middle-class colonies of Delhi in the mid-90s. The story thrives against the backdrop of the initial surge of foreign investment in India. The very first chapter of the book begins to enthrall a reader with the couple's love making scene. 

The only glitch is this: it is a married woman having a romantic adventure with her husband's boss. Cheesy as it may seem, the book sets itself apart by diving straight into the troubled waters yet without taking any sides, revealing once again the mark of a true family writer.


Extramarital affair breaks a solid marriage Shagun, the green-eyed beautiful wife of Raman, falls in love with his charismatic, handsome boss Ashok Khanna, who has never been in love before and is determined to possess the woman he now loves. It does not matter to him …

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…

Gayatri Mantra as Panchamukhi: Get it right or let it go

Most people do not understand the importance of chanting the Gayatri mantra because they are not aware of its power. It is only when I began to read Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's teachings that I learned how sacred and powerful the chanting of the Gayatri mantra is.
The Vedas represent the breath of God. The Gayatri mantra is the very basis of the Vedas. Try not to undertake chanting the Gayatri mantra as a light endeavor or as a hobby. It has to be chanted with faith, discipline and purity of mind and body. Be steady with your sadhana if you want to reap the spiritual dividend associated with the Gayatri mantra  and never once hesitate once you decide to do it.
Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba said that the Gayatri Mantra is referred to as Pancha Mukhi, the Goddess with five faces that represent the five pranas or life forces. Here's more on it.


Chant the Gayatri Mantra correctly: Pause Five Times Here are some important things to keep in mind while chanting the Gayatri mantra:

1. Wh…

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'…