Title: Leaving Montana
Author: Thomas Whaley
Number of Pages: 203
Synopsis: "Saying that Benjamin Sean Quinn had “anger issues” was an understatement. For those who knew him for the shortest amount of time, his life was in order: He was physically fit, had a great job which provided him a house in the suburbs and the material things he desired, a loving, monogamous relationship, two happy, healthy daughters and an established circle of friends. In all accounts, his life seemed perfect. But to those who knew him the longest, they knew he was an idle grenade, waiting for someone to pull the pin.
For decades, Ben did his best to conquer his demons; to suppress the anger he accumulated towards his parents, Carmella and Sean, throughout their tumultuous marriage. Ben was their only child; forced to witness and experience things that most adults couldn’t even try to handle. He could not escape them or the anger, and no matter how hard he tried, as he matured, it became a part of him. Ben strived to end the toxic cycle and avoid adopting their pattern as part of his own life. By the time he reached his early thirties, he finally seemed to have it all under control.
Then Ben’s father told him a “secret”. One left in Montana when he and Carmella were stationed there forty years earlier. It would exhume the painful memories and suppressed anger that Ben had been avoiding for years and force him to relive his past in order to face his future.
Today Benjamin Sean Quinn boards a plane to Billings, Montana. It was time to face the secret head on and let go of the anger that silently ruled his life. It would be the boldest move he ever made, ultimately changing his life and the lives of those around him."
Leaving Montana is a compelling look inside the life of a dysfunctional family and a son's quest to find peace.
Ben has worked hard to overcome the years of damage he has endured due to the toxic marriage of his parents, Sean and Carmella Quinn. His father is violent, his mother manipulative and both use their son as leverage for personal gain. Ben has finally had enough and refuses to play their games any longer. As a result he suppresses the past instead of dealing with it. When his father reveals a secret he has carried for more than forty years, all the pain, devastation, and hatred resurfaces. Now, Ben must travel across the country to the place where everything began so many years ago. Will he find the peace he has been searching for?
This is an excellent read. I was instantly drawn into the intriguing and broken lives of the Quinn family. Ben is a fantastic character. His transformation as a son, father, brother, and human being touched me. I instantly fell in love with Ben, the little boy, and wanted to rescue him from his pain. As an adult he masks his pain through a seemingly self assured and somewhat cocky attitude. However, once the protective layer was removed to reveal the deep hurt he has experienced my heart ached for him. Learning to accept others as they are and holding them responsible for their choices instead of blaming himself ultimately saves him and his wounds begin to heal. I loved this story! It reminded me that we all face difficult trials in life, but we don't have let them define us. Ben's lesson is one that is valid in real life. Once we realize we can't carry the burden of others we can be set free.
The story is well organized and flows easily. The author switches between past and present, but the transition is seamless and I never felt lost or confused. In fact, I was captivated from the first page and had a hard time putting the book down, always telling myself "just one more chapter." I am definitely a fan of his writing style and can't wait to read more of his work.
I highly recommend picking up a copy of Leaving Montana. It's well worth reading. Available on Amazon.