Duffy Sinclair – 88 years old, a childless lifelong bachelor, intellectually sound, but has a few health issues. An ex-alcoholic, Duffy hasn’t had a drink in years. He has abused his body his entire life, which has precluded him from having any worthwhile relationships. Duffy’s roommate at the nursing home is the best friend he has ever had.
Carl Upton – a ‘good’ man and a widower who despite being Duffy’s best friend in the world, is keeping secrets from him.
Josie – Carl’s granddaughter from an extra marital affair. Josie, in her twenties, arrives at the home in a rather dramatic fashion which stirs up the residents in more ways than one.
Alice – refined and lady-like, Alice is a widow who lives in the home. Duffy is quite smitten with her, but she has great ties of loyalty to her late husband.
Nora – an empathetic, overworked, and very caring nurse who works at the home. A single mother with two girls, Nora is the only breadwinner for her family.
Anderson – tattooed chief cook and bottle washer at the home, Anderson is also a friend to Duffy who has his back on any occasion where it is required.My favorite quotes from the novel:
“You had to look loss in the eye, and if you were going to survive it, you had to believe that there were two different parts of every person: the stuff that ended up in the ground and the stuff that didn’t.”
“I’m offering my help because sometimes we need mending and sometimes we need somebody else to help us thread the needle.”
First off, I wonder…. did the person who designed the cover even read the book? In my opinion, the cover had absolutely nothing to do with the plot. From the cover, one might imagine that the young girl and the old man escaped the confines of the home and went on an adventure…. NOT!
That aside, I DID really enjoy this novel. The title was apt – It had a big (though poignant) finish. Set within the span of one single week in an assisted living facility, this was a story that brought realistic, damaged people to life with excellent writing and compassion.
The friendships portrayed within the pages of “The Big Finish” were heart-warming to read about. The engaging characters and insular setting were authentically rendered.
As one might expect with an 88-year-old protagonist, this novel dealt with themes of aging, loss, friendship, and finding out what REALLY matters in a life well lived. Some of us have the good fortune to realize this profundity early in life, while others find out at the very end of theirs. A debut novel that explores some very deep subjects.
This book was an excellent reminder to us all that infirm and elderly people who live behind the walls of care homes were once vital, active, and engaged members of society. A reminder that cannot be given enough times in my opinion. Told with empathy, dark humor, and tenderness, I’m confident that this story will be enjoyed by many. Recommended!
This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Berkley Publishing Group via NetGalley.
Brooke Fossey was once an aerospace engineer with a secret clearance before she traded it all in for motherhood and writing. She’s a past president and an honorary lifetime member of DFW Writers Workshop. Her work can be found in numerous publications, including Ruminate Magazine and SmokeLong Quarterly. When she’s not writing, you can find her in Dallas, Texas with her husband, four kids, and their dog Rufus. She still occasionally does math.