Forge, May 2003, 24.95, 352 pp.
At eighty-three, Mickey Sienna lives alone in his New Jersey home ever since his beloved wife Dorothy died a few years ago. Mickey's four children worry about his living alone at his age, but do nothing until he doses off while making fried eggs, setting his kitchen on fire. The siblings discuss what to do. The three oldest want to move dad into assisted living while the youngest by twelve years Jesse wants his father to move in with him.
When threatened with the home, Mickey leaps at moving in with Jesse. The two men walk gingerly on eggshells as they struggle to find a middle ground and avoid a generation war. Mickey forces Jesse to bring his girlfriend Marina to him so he can meet her. He quickly realizes these two have a rare chance for a once in a lifetime love, but his son is a moron who thinks love eventually dies. Mickey relates the story of his one true love, not his spouse of fifty years though he loved her too. Will Jesse understand what he has before he loses it or is fatherly advice too late for a grown up son?
THE FOREVER YEARS is a delightful family relationship drama with a wonderful romantic subplot. The story line is amusing yet poignant as Mickey struggles with his decreasing capacity and his adult children tussle with what is best for their beloved dad. Jesse is an enjoyable individual who is a mocking cynical Metro New Yorker (oxymoron?) as well as a nurturing person. Though Marina seems too perfect to be real, fans will appreciate Ronald Anthony's enchanting and beautiful modern day novel.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner