It’s immensely satisfying when an author can dazzle you just as much with her sophomore novel as she did with her debut novel. There is no sophomore slump to be found in Stasia Ward Kehoe’s The Sound Of Letting Go, a read that feels as though it’s from the heart. Kehoe captures human emotions so perfectly in her latest book, that her growth as a writing actually is palpable. Friends, I am about to go on and on about The Sound Of Letting Go and how much I loved it. I loved it so much so, that I began talking about it to other people at work and a few have actually asked me to borrow it. Y’all, that is totally not normal for me and I think is a testament to my enthusiasm for this book.
Daisy is a sixteen year old trumpet player. She’s really, really good. Like, she’s been in legit orchestras and has performed across many stages. She finds solace in jazz music. On the outside, Daisy’s life might be enviable. Yet, she struggles. You see, she has a brother, Steven, who is 13. Unlike your average younger brother, Steven has severe autism. He is nonverbal. He can sometimes be violent. Yet, Daisy still loves Steven the best way she knows how. He occupies an important place in her heart. What she won’t admit to everyone though, is that she often feels like a prisoner to her brother’s moods. Change is about to come, however. Daisy’s parents are contemplating putting Steven into a group home. Daisy simultaneously feels relief and anger. She doesn’t know if she wants Steven to stay or to leave. So, she acts out by dating bad boy Dave, staying out late, and skipping out on her band obligations. Meanwhile, Cal, an Irish exchange student music prodigy, is trying to get Daisy back on the straight and narrow. The Sound Of Letting Go is an unflinchingly honest book about family, friends, love, and moving forward.
I feel like some people who read The Sound Of Letting Go are not going to like Daisy because they are going to look at the book on it’s surface and see her as selfish. I am begging you though, reader to reader, to look beneath surface and read this book. Kehoe does a great job making Daisy someone whom you can understand and feel for. She captures what it is like to be held to the whims of another person. She captures that double edged sword of love and resentment. I say that as someone who also has a special needs sibling, but not nearly on the scale of Steven. It is just like any other sibling, not always easy. Granted, Daisy’s family situation is extreme, but I guess my thing is, I get it. I really do. And well, Daisy is someone who is not a sociopath, who feels guilt for her relief and for you know, having unsavory feelings. It’s good.
If you read the back jacket or the official summary, you might think that Kehoe’s book is one of those love triangle books. Let me tell you that it is not. Not in the least. To be honest, I was not expecting to root for the relationship and felt myself feeling mistrustful as it unfolded. I felt as though the guy Daisy was seeing, Dave, was just using her. I was being judgmental, my friends. What we see in this book is Daisy exploring the waters of sexuality in tandem with her emotional pain. She watches a lot of HBO and sort of expects sexytimes to mirror that, LOL. It’s all very artfully done, but still, gave me a wicked case of the LOLs.
Kehoe’s The Sound Of Letting Go is a verse book. It really perfectly captures what it is like to feel like you are stuck between a rock and a hard place. It is not an easy read by any means. What I liked about the writing is that Kehoe admits Daisy’s family is upper middle class so they have the means to help Steven when so many others might not have those means. It’s a book that really, really made me think and change my mind several times over the course of reading it. I would definitely recommend this book you guys.
Disclosure: Review Copy Provided By Publisher