Red Hook Road by Ayelet Waldman
Published by Doubleday, an imprint of Random House

Red Hook Road revolves around one single moment in time:  John Tetherly and Rebecca Copaken are tragically killed in a car accident on the drive from their wedding to the reception immediately after.  The rest of the novel deals with how the various members of the Tetherly and Copaken families deal with this horrific loss.

You would think that a novel dealing with such an enormous tragedy such as the deaths of the members of a young, vibrant, intelligent, and fun couple would be a major downer, but Red Hook Road is anything but.  Since the reader knows going into the book that it revolves around this tragedy, it is really not about John and Becca, it is more about their families and how they deal with their grief and live full lives without the couple.

This novel is heavily driven by its characters, so it’s a good thing that Waldmen wrote some amazingly realistic ones!  From Becca’s parents, to John’s mother, to Becca’s sister Ruthie, to John’s brother Matt, to the elderly grandfather – I loved them all.  Each character in this novel provided another glimpse of what grief can look like, how it can change you – for better and for worse.

This is a difficult book to review, because the plot is almost sparse in comparison to how heavily the characters are featured, and I’m not interested in giving away any specific elements of the plot because the important plot elements came as a surprise to me and I’d rather not ruin them.  However, I will say that Waldman’s writing is absolutely fabulous and the book is enjoyable for the writing alone.  Add to that the incredible characters, and Red Hook Road is a winner for sure.  Also, I listened to this novel on audio and it did translate well to that format.  While not my favorite audiobook I’ve ever listened to, it was a good production and easy to listen to and take in.

I would definitely recommend Red Hook Road for those looking for a novel driven by excellent characters and good quality writing.