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I'm a writer and library worker who wears many hats. I believe a good book and a good piece of chocolate are the keys to a happy life.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Room for Two by Abel Keogh

I have to be honest with you. Room for Two is a book I was almost unable to review. It’s not that the writing was bad, or that the storyline stunk; no, Room for Two is very well written and the story is exceptionally compelling. It is definitely one that needs to be shared. But, this true story can also be very emotionally taxing. Abel Keogh makes no apologies (nor should he have to) for very vividly and very accurately describing the events surrounding his wife’s death by her own hand.


I knew exactly what this book was about before I agreed to review it during Abel’s virtual book tour. I knew it would be hard, but I also knew that many, many people needed to read it. I thought that I would be able to handle it. I almost could not.


You see, the first chapter is very well written and because of this it had an unexpected affect on me. I’m afraid that in my former life as a nurse I became very familiar with the type of scene that played out for Abel. It was not an easy thing, but it could be done. Unfortunately, I found that as Mr. Keogh’s compelling writing continued I was not only walking his nightmare with him, but I was also carrying with me the names, faces, and cases of those I had treated many years ago. These were not memories and feelings that I had thought of in a long time, nor were they ones I was eager to re-live. By the end of the first chapter I was emotionally spent. I closed the book and had a good long cry— for Abel Keogh, for his wife, for myself, and all those other faces I had carried with me as I read.


The story had moved me, and I was compelled to find out what the rest of the pages held; but, it was still a full day before I was ready to pick up the book and move beyond chapter one. Then, I soon had to mourn a little more for another set of circumstances I knew all to well and another set of patients I had the honor and pain of caring for. The first third of the book was hard, very hard. Even so, I do not think this story could, or should, have been dealt with any other way. It is honest, sincere, and powerful. If you are one of the many who have personally dealt with this type of nightmare, and when you are ready, you will appreciate Abel’s candidness and understanding for the things you face. He makes it very clear that you are not, and will never be, all alone in those dark hours. Even when no one else can understand, the Savior weeps with you.


Rest assured this story has a satisfying ending, but the path taken is not always easy. If you have the courage to learn from Abel Keogh’s life you will be a much better person for it. You will definitely walk away with greater compassion and empathy.


That being said, Room for Two is not a book that I can globally recommend for every reader. Rather, it is one that I would prayerfully consider for anyone who has had to deal with this type of loss within or outside of an LDS belief system. It is also very appropriate for those who have the special responsibility of reaching out to these people. Prepare yourself mentally, emotionally, and spiritually for the experience and you’ll walk away with some powerful insights. Come to its pages with a lot of baggage and it may take a while longer to catch the messages of this story.


Room for Two is about choices, and understanding that even a seemingly small decision can impact many lives greatly. Most importantly it shows kindness and understanding for those who have faced serious consequences from badly made choices. Ultimately, this is a story of pain, suffering, repentance, renewal, peace, and forgiveness. It’s about finding yourself at the most horrid spot in your life you can ever imagine and finding a way to climb out of that quagmire. Room for Two offers hope. It carries the message that even when someone thinks they are beyond reach and have used their last chance with the Savior, they are still in His hand. Though He will not change or take away the consequences that must be faced, God still guides His children to the best blessings He can offer them. Still, in the end the choice is ours, once again, whether we will accept or turn away from His love.


Well done, Abel Keogh, for having the personal strength to endure, and to share, a very timely and compelling message.



Room for Two by Abel Keogh

Trade Paperback: 224 pages

Publisher: Cedar Fort (August 2007)

ISBN-10: 1599550628

ISBN-13: 978-1599550626

Amazon.com Sales Rank: #162,056 in Books (See Bestsellers in Books)


Follow Abel Keogh’s Virtual Book Tour at http://www.abelkeogh.com/blog/


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3 comments:

Candace E. Salima said...

I agree with all you say about this book, Alison. Except for one thing. I would recommend this to one and all, because I think each of us, at different times in our lives, need take a good hard look in the mirror.

Abel's story is everything you say, but I would recommend it to everyone.

I'm sorry that you had to relive those horrible times, Alison. I love you, my friend! You're an awesome woman!

Alison Palmer said...

No worries, Candace. After recommending a few titles to friends who were experiencing challenges in their life and having them be more hurtful at helpful at that time, I just tend to be a little more cautious when the title contains very emotional themes.

Kim Thompson said...

Sound like it was an emotional read. Great Review. I'm looking forward to reading and reviewing the book.