Author: Steven Parlato
Publication: 18 January, 2013
Rating: O for Outstanding
Copy: ARC received by Bumbles and Fairy-Tales
Review: Easter morning. Evan Galloway and his mother spend time in church for the holy day. Thoughts of happiness and the feeling of being blessed surrounds the room in a shroud of light. Not far from the church, at Evans grandparent’s house, his father hangs off a rope from the attic beams. Evan is in his third year at St. Sebastian’s Catholic High School, and not only does he need to worry about graduating at sixteen and choosing a college to attend, he’s troubled by the thoughts and questions of why his father left him behind. Questions that he would later find out that he’d rather leave them unanswered.
The novel spends the majority of its time with Evan finding bits and pieces of his fathers past life, along with finding the hidden secrets his parents kept from him his whole entire life. Side-by-side with some normal high school subplots, the novel shapes up to be one of the best contemporary reads I have ever read.
Written in first-person, The Namesake was my first novel by Steven Parlato, which made me a bit excited to discover what this author was all about. The further I got into the book, the more I became convinced that this man was a genius with his writing. The man knows how to write! He gave me a character that I was instantly able to connect with on account of some similarities and he gave me a story that touched my heart and words that made me feel as if it were all real. To say that he made me believe and feel for the character is an understatement because he made me live as Evan and not many people have enough talent to do that.
The characters were all perfectly laid out. I was able to connect with each and every one of them but Evan was a part of me that I completely forgot about. There were times when I felt like we were the same person as he thought and went through things that I myself have gone through. The supporting characters were amazingly written as well. None of them were fully sculpted from the first page and you learned more and more about them as the novel advanced.
Now the story itself, I can’t exactly speak much of without spoiling, so I might be a bit of a tease here. Evan’s father, also Evan Galloway, committed suicide and with a reason that we find out towards the end. Through-out the entire novel we still have him around in the form of art, letters and recorded tapes. He tells his story of things that went on when he was younger and Evan found it and plays them little by little. While people might get frustrated that he didn't just go through the whole thing, I found it ultimately realistic at the fact that he could not face the pain of listening to his father.
The story is something that does happen a lot and we do hear about it on the news once in a while. Something that is both scandalous and heart-breaking and I think that it was handled extremely well in the novel because not only do you see the taboo side, you get to experience the pain and suffering of the family. I think Parlato is a talented author and I can’t wait to see more of his work.
UPDATE! Author Steven Parlato tried commenting on the post but for some reason it wouldn't go through but he has left me a message.
"Michael, Thanks for the amazing NAMESAKE review. I'm touched by the praise, but also the sincerity & insight with which you read my work. Your deep connection with Evan and your feeling like part of his story mean the world. Input like this inspires me as I work on the next. All best, Steven Parlato."
When I get messages like this one by authors, it touches me and reminds me to keep doing what I'm doing. I'm glad that you loved the review and here's to many more future novels and success!