BOOK REVIEW: “ALL MY SINS REMEMBERED”
By Susan Marie Molloy
Summer is here with its sweltering days and warm nights, so books are a fabulous way to relax, get away, and imagine. This is second in a series of my book reviews. I hope that my recommendations inspire you to read these books. ~Susan Marie Molloy
“All My Sins Remembered,” a fictional novel written by Adam Stanley, is a quick-moving, “warts-and-all” work. Through the first-person narration of the central character, Andrew White, the reader experiences Andrew’s seemingly undying obsession with Leigh Mallory, a girl whom he loved and “turned . . .into something unreal” in his psyche.
The novel takes place in 2009. Andrew is sweating out a sweltering July evening in a cheesy motel, contemplating his life, searching how to ditch his two decade obsession with Leigh, and weighing his options to continue on his life’s path.
This is a love story, a narrative of deep guilt, a tale of maturing, a parable of life and death in all its manifestations.
One of the continuing underlying themes in “All My Sins Remembered” is baptism and rebirth. Adam Stanley puts forth myriad descriptions of water, oceans, floods, and fire that are interlaced within each narration wherein Andrew struggles. Indeed, the protagonist is facing his own baptism and rebirth into a life with or without Leigh, and around him are cleansing waters and fires – but does he notice?
Yet, this novel does not portray the pure Pollyanna view of life; it is life, warts and all. To be sure, there are the sweet moments of love where Andrew tells us Leigh “moves like sunlight on a swift, clear river.” He also tells us that “there were girls much better looking than Leigh . . . [though] her hair was never quite right, always tousled and out of place, giving her a rough, wild look like a feral child.”
Conversely, life itself for and around Andrew was also callously ugly: drunkenness, drug use and abuse, physical fights, murder, death, suicidal feelings, and abandonment in several forms. Andrew muses quite convincingly that “[d]eath is easy to ignore if you are caught up in living.” And Andrew tried to live – really live – his life, and most assuredly try to ignore death at all levels.
The novel flows well with splendid narrations and descriptions of life as it was in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Adam Stanley makes great use of what was extant in those years: Music bands, styles of clothing, and types of vehicles, for example. The reader feels and sees the scenes quite clearly. Parts of the book, in its narration, have a general feel of a hard-boiled novel à la Dashiell Hammet, with its blunt, quick, and frank “talk.” That is what makes this novel move quickly. As a caveat to the reader, there is harsh language that may be unpleasant to some readers. I will leave this to the author writing the novel with real life scenarios as much as possible through his characters.
I have the Kindle version of “All My Sins Remembered.” I discovered errors in spelling, word usage, grammar, and format (format especially in the last couple of chapters). Since I don’t have the paperback version, I cannot compare if this is an oversight or not. It was a bit distracting to come across them.
Overall, I highly recommend “All My Sins Remembered” by Adam Stanley. The story is a very good one, and it’s one you might just relate to.
“If you live your life like you want to live it, people are going to think
you’re insane, call you crazy, and label you with lots of other labels.
But just think about this, the crazier you seem to the world, the more you
have really lived. Even if you end up with only a handful of lost dreams,
they can never take away all that living from you.”
— “All My Sins Remembered,” by Adam Stanley
You can find Kindle and paperback versions of “All My Sins Remembered” by Adam Stanley on Amazon by clicking HERE.
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