Reviewed for Readers' Favorite.
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Alex Craigie’s debut work, Someone Close to Home, opens eerily, as his subject’s eyes flick, flick, flick . . . Shortly, readers learn that Megan Youngblood, a world-renowned pianist, is hospitalized, unable to communicate. Without an ally to speak on her behalf, she suffers the unkindnesses—and in some situations, outright intentional infliction of harm—brought on by those in whose care her son and daughter left her. As Megan recalls scenes from her past, which are centered around her overbearing and manipulative mother, and later, of a cruel and abusive husband, Craigie fills in the blanks. Megan suffered a stroke that left her paralyzed and unable to speak. Megan finds, as the author suggests, that, “True and desperate loneliness is to be found in the unwanted company of others.” In the absence of her best friend, Claire, and Gideon, an old friend and love interest who had recently re-entered her life, Megan experiences the kind of nightmare that would keep anyone awake and fearful. For her, the situation grows darker as the story progresses, when Anna, a member of the staff with a personal grudge against her as a consequence of her mother’s actions, returns after a short time away.
While showcasing the kinds of outrages that can occur in care facilities that run on inadequate funds and without appropriate supervision and management, Someone Close to Home is actually a story of the human spirit—of rising above adversity, of coming to grips with one’s prejudices, of learning to forgive and to love. Alex Craigie presents a tale that will keep readers turning pages quickly. Even while fearing from time to time, what is to come, hope remains that Megan will be freed from the prison of her mind and body. I predict that readers will be watching for more from this gifted writer, as I know that I will!