Sarah's Reviews > The Given Day

The Given Day by Dennis Lehane
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's review
Jul 21, 2015

really liked it
bookshelves: historical-fiction, kindle, owned
Read from May 03 to July 21, 2015

Racism. Riots. Dirty cops. Good cops everyone thinks are bad cops. Baseball. People dying from the flu. People trying to make a living wage. Strikes.Terrorist attacks on American soil. Homemade bombs exploding in Boston. Many, many, many shootings.

Sound familiar?

What if I told you that I'm not talking about current events? What if I told you that this book is set in 1918-1919, just after the end of the First World War? Released in 2008, before Trayvon Martin was killed. Before Michael Brown was killed. Before the Boston marathon bombing. Before the national debate about minimum wage. It's scary, so scary, to see that nothing has really changed in the last 100 years. Racism is still rampant. People still aren't sure whether they can trust the police. People are still kept below the poverty level. People are still shooting at each other and blowing each other up. People are still rioting in the streets, taking their anger out on innocent bystanders and shop owners. Will it ever stop?

And how can you know if the way you're choosing to fight it is right? This book centers around the Boston Police Strike of 1919. The Boston Policemen were paid less than the poverty level. The police stations were in squalor, and the men had to pay for their uniforms and weapons out of their own empty pockets. They'd been promised a raise once the war was over, but those promises were not met. So, not knowing what else to do, they went on strike. But do you know what happens when the public finds out there aren't any police? Chaos. Murder. Robbery. Rape. So much blood in the streets. So were these men to blame for abandoning their pledge to keep the city safe in order to try and provide for their families? Even the book's protagonist isn't sure of the answer.

This is such a departure from Dennis Lehane's previous books. It's epic. It's harrowing. It's gripping. It's masterful. It's sad. It's engrossing. It's a must-read.
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Reading Progress

05/03/2015 marked as: currently-reading
05/03/2015 page 22
3.0% "Dennis Lehane wrote an historical fiction novel about WWI and baseball? This book might be my spirit animal."
07/20/2015 page 545
77.0% "I read 300 pages of this yesterday. That ought to tell you a little about how it's going."
07/21/2015 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Steve (new)

Steve I can imagine Lehane doing a terrific job with this. You set this up well, Sarah. Great review on a tough topic.

Sarah Thanks, Steve!

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