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A Family Garden

A Novel
Narrated by: Frank Zajaczkowski
Length: 7 hrs
Categories: Fiction, Contemporary
4.5 out of 5 stars (7 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

How can you turn down the last request of a dying friend? You can’t, even if it tears your world apart.

Chris Baker has wasted most of his life fearing emotional connections. Emptiness has become his comfort zone. And yes, there are painful reasons for his fears. But an unusual request from an estranged friend exposes his heart in the most difficult way possible…with the love he once betrayed.

When Chris agrees to reunite his friend’s grown son, Max, with his mother in British Columbia, he’s forced to confront the unresolved passions of their explosive affair that triggered her deportation years before. And though the drive to Canada may recall a few idyllic moments from the '60s, today’s road trip is a dangerous one as Chris and Max are chased by drug dealers and pursued by Max’s impetuous girlfriend.

All the while, Max keeps hidden his real motive for going to Canada and the treacherous getaway plan he has in mind.

Mature lovers. Young lovers. Hopes abandoned and dreams forsaken. A Family Garden transforms the journey North into a complex journey inward, where Chris and Max must find the courage to overcome their demons or lose forever the love they desperately need.

©2018 Frank Zajaczkowski (P)2018 Frank Zajaczkowski

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Engaging Storyline, Relatable Characters

I got hooked on this book with its strong premise of a dying friend asking his long estranged friend to escort his son to a new treatment center. This is a classic picaresque plot like "The Last Detail," as one example, but this resonates strongly to anyone in a parenting role. But the story continues to unfold exploring the different paths and choices we face in life and how we can change or if time changes, and we see the world and the people around us in new ways. And find true happiness. The other enjoyable aspect for anyone from California is the detailed description of Los Angeles, the California Coast going north to Canada and the settings in general. I felt like I was in the car or the ferry with the hero and his companions. The reading is also very immersive conveying the pathos and joy threaded throughout the story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Myztikal
  • On the Edge of Glory
  • 04-06-19

When is it too late to forgive and commit?

•audiobook•

Chris, our MC, was abandoned as a young adult when his mom ran off with his younger sister and a new boyfriend. Soon afterwards, he and his best friend run off to explore their freedom and whatever life can throw at them.
A not quite love triangle emerges but Chris is unable to commit. From a mental health position, this is common, believable- and we probably all know someone like this, so it’s relatable.

The storytelling overlaps three time periods. Chris as a young adult, Chris as an older adult, then thoughts written in letters in 2009.

Kali and Nicole’s personalities seemed very similar.

The bonding of the relationships was interesting, but I didn’t find it believable.

Knocking off a star because the major turning point - the facility in Canada sounded completely inaccurate. I’m not versed in Canadian mental health processes and procedures, but I think it was downright written solely for the plot. It was unprofessional. In the US, no one can talk to anyone without the patient’s consent. And Andre completely should not have disclosed anything personal in his office about Max.

I KNOW I wouldn’t have chosen this book if it indicated it has sex in it. It’s just not something I would choose to listen to. The scenes were brief but raw. And it had language, which I was also unprepared for. It wasn’t part of their casual conversations, only during heightened moments.

Otherwise, it was well written and seemed to be edited to a higher standard. I liked it and I think most people would too.

Almost a 4 star and I did enjoy the listen.

The author narrated the book and he did a stunning job. I would TOTALLY pick up another book by him. With caution, of course!

"I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review."

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Read it!!

Had a chance to both read and listen to the audiobook, and they’re both great! It’s a moving story about grabbing hold of lost love, rather than letting your fears and insecurities loosen your grip. For both young and old, it is a beautiful piece that functions as connective tissue between the bones of our different generations. Give it a read!!