Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Ask Again, Yes” as Want to Read:
Ask Again, Yes
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Ask Again, Yes

by
3.99  ·  Rating details ·  114,805 ratings  ·  11,114 reviews
How much can a family forgive?

A profoundly moving novel about two neighboring families in a suburban town, the bond between their children, a tragedy that reverberates over four decades, the daily intimacies of marriage, and the power of forgiveness.

Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope, two rookie cops in the NYPD, live next door to each other outside the city. What happens
...more
Hardcover, 390 pages
Published May 28th 2019 by Scribner
More Details... Edit Details
Featured Notes & Highlights

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Ask Again, Yes, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Brenda Lee Interesting, I did not even once have to reread to understand this book. That happens to me sometimes for sure but not here.

I devoured this book and …more
Interesting, I did not even once have to reread to understand this book. That happens to me sometimes for sure but not here.

I devoured this book and connected to the characters with ease.(less)
Leighellen Landskov
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  114,805 ratings  ·  11,114 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Ask Again, Yes
chai ♡
Lying in my bed at night, after finishing this book, I found myself unwilling audience to a seethe of clashing thoughts about the story, like watching a flickering home movie projected into a makeshift screen. My mind refused to release me to oblivion, and, although the ending does bring to one's mind the setting of one’s soul at ease and the wheeling of stars into alignment, I turned the last page feeling heavier with what I knew. I still do.

So, what’s this book about?

Brian Stanhope and Fra
...more
Emily May
Apr 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: modern-lit, 2019, arc
“The thing is, Peter, grown-ups don’t know what they’re doing any better than kids do. That’s the truth.”

Oh, I love a good family drama.

Ask Again, Yes is a book about the members of two families-- the Gleesons and the Stanhopes. They are first brought together through the New York City police academy when young rookies Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope work together. Later, they become neighbours and start families next to one another. Except any chance of cordiality between them is destro
...more
Susanne  Strong
5 Stars.
Edited after much thought to revise rating from 4.25 Stars to 5 Stars. The ramifications of this novel and its ending have stayed with me!

“Ask Again, Yes” is Literary Fiction at its best!

This novel is an exploration of life, love, family, mistakes and the tragedies of everyday life. The Stanhopes and the Gleasons are at odds. Will they ever heal the rift that tore their families apart?

Alcoholism, friendship, forgiveness, mental illness, love and tragedy. These are the themes of “Ask
...more
Kat
Jul 10, 2020 rated it liked it
suburban drama!! family dynamics!!

truly, what's not to love? this was addicting and super enjoyable. although this story didn't break my brain or anything, it was fun, and i'd totally recommend for fans of little fires everywhere, the mothers, etc.
Chelsea Humphrey
Book of the Month selection June 2019

"The thing is, Peter, grown-ups don't know what they're doing any better than kids do. That's the truth."

You've seen this book around before. You know the one I'm talking about; it's got an aesthetically pleasing blue-green cover, boasts of domestic drama and in-depth character study of the darker side of families, while promising the reader that they will experience a grand range of emotion by the time the final page is turned. These books are one thing, pur
...more
marilyn
* I've added a link to an article called A conversation with Mary Beth Keane, best-selling author of "Ask Again, Yes" to the bottom of this review.*

I didn't want to put this book down from the moment I started it...too bad I needed sleep and had other things I needed to do. Still I read it within a few short days and it hurt my heart but also, filled me with hope. Mary Beth Keane did a great job of putting her words down on paper.

Kate and Peter, born to neighbors, 6 months apart, had a connecti
...more
Nilufer Ozmekik
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: maybe
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Angela M
May 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

I have always enjoyed reading family stories that take me on their journey across time. This is a story of two families over several decades and how their lives intersect in a tragic way as well as one that is filled of love and ultimately forgiveness. Two NYC police officers, living next door to each other in the suburbs, connected mainly by the friendship of their two young children. Abruptly the things going on in one of the families impact the other in a way that changes everyone’s
...more
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)
***NOW AVAILABLE***


This is one of those books that, as I pondered writing this review, I have changed my rating from a 4 to a 5. The more I thought about it, the more I realized how incredibly strong the characters in this book are, I finished it last week and I’m still thinking about them., all of them. If you love strong character driven books, you will love this one! I had a bit of believability issues with one of the main characters but it doesn’t take away from the entire body of work.

From
...more
Tammy
Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The cover of this book is remarkable and behind the cover is a remarkable book. At first glance, the cover appears to be an example of a painting technique known as impasto (I think). Closer scrutiny reveals a typical suburban neighborhood that could be Anywhere, USA. And so it is with this novel. At first glance, Ask Again, Yes seems to be an American dream or coming of age novel and in some ways it is but beneath these obvious themes lie much more. A violent act leaves two families forever cha ...more
karen
oooh, goodreads choice awards semifinalist for BEST FICTION 2019! what will happen?

heads up to whom it may concern: this book is primo book club bait. in general, the best book club choices are ones with juicy conflicts at their centers which inspire strong, differing, politely expressed opinions from your assembled booknerds. and the best of these have an extra component—they allow the reader a sort of peripheral empathy; taking recognizable, relatable issues like illness, marital/job stress, d
...more
Elyse  Walters
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Unresolved childhood experiences of loss and trauma are repeated in the next generation...
is a theme that’s explored brilliantly.

With many disturbing themes: abuse, abandonment, mental illness, alcoholism, infidelity, with a tragic defining moment.....the author takes readers on a 40 year journey - (three family generations) - with characters that are genuine and broken.
The emotional reactions of family members is projected on to others - shifting responsibility.

We also see how disease follow
...more
j e w e l s
Jun 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
FIVE UNPUTDOWNABLE STARS

Well. No reason to read any more books this year. This is it. My favorite of 2019.

While I tend to devour the psychological suspense novels, I also love a good and messy family drama novel. Ask Again, Yes is a character driven family saga covering almost three generations from Ireland to contemporary New York state.

The story revolves around two couples living as neighbors, but not really as friends. There is something a little cold about one of the wives and even though
...more
jessica
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
contemporary fiction. i keep forgetting how much i love this genre. i always find myself amazed each time i pick up a book that perfectly showcases how ordinary people can be extraordinary. this story doesnt rely on gimmicks. theres no shying away from difficult topics. its just me, falling in love with simple characters doing the best they can.
‘there was no predicting where life would go. there was no real way for a person to try something out, to see if he liked it, because you try it and t
...more
Liz
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio
My last five star book of the year.

I’d seen so many positive reviews about this book, I had to find time to listen to it. This is an extraordinarily poignant book. It grabbed me from the beginning and never let me go.

Two families reside side by side. The children are friends, but the parents have issues. Peter’s mom is mentally unbalanced. His father, a cop, tries to ignore her problems. Kate’s dad is also a cop, in fact, at one time they’d been rookie partners.

Keane totally gets what it’s lik
...more
BernLuvsBooks
Jun 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Mary Beth Keane's novel, Ask Again, Yes is ultimately about family, love, mistakes, forgiveness and being able to move forward in life, to move past tragedy and embrace our lives - both the good and bad moments.

This is definitely not my typical type of read but I'm so glad I gave it a try. The Gleesons and the Stanhopes fully captured me. I easily found myself invested in these people as I followed their family histories through time.

Brian Stanhope and Francis Gleeson are rookie cops who meet
...more
JanB
5 enthusiastic stars!

“Life is top heavy, that what happens early matters the most in shaping you”. The author writes beautifully and she showed us this truth in these characters in a way that was profound and deeply moving. We all start our lives full of promise and hope, never knowing the heartache and trials that await us. Such is life. And most of us would do it all over again.

This is a difficult book to summarize without spoilers so I’m keeping this review short on plot. The Stanhopes and G
...more
Brenda - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
One of the best books I have read for a Group read pick!

Ask, Again, Yes is a moving, quiet beautifully written family drama that explores love, forgiveness, friendship, tragedy and trauma that takes place over four decades. We see neighbors whose lives are intertwined when tragedy strikes and a violent act tears them apart.

Mary Beth Keane writes with compassion and I could feel the tenderness, generosity and grace she has given her characters. I was completely drawn into the lives of Peter and
...more
Paromjit
Sep 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Mary Beth Keane writes a poignant and powerful epic character driven multi-generational family drama spanning decades, sensitively exploring family dynamics, the darkness and the issues that so often reside in the heart of a family behind closed doors. In the 1970s, Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope are rookie cops in NYPD that end up living outside the city on the same street. A pregnant and lonely Lena Gleeson tries so hard to befriend Anne Stanhope only to be rebuffed. However, their childre ...more
Holly  B (semi-hiatus until Jan)
I listened via Audible. Would have enjoyed a more expressive narrator.

I liked it, didn't love it as so many of my friends and others have. Read their reviews!

I do enjoy family dramas with authentic characters, but I really only connected with Kate. I wanted to care more about the others, would have appreciated stronger personalities and feel more anticipation than I did for the majority of the book.

It was slow paced for me and somewhat mundane - yes bored, lets move on....

What I did love was the
...more
Kaceey
Apr 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddy-read, netgalley
A beautifully crafted family drama that explores love, forgiveness and the ability to move on.
Do you have the strength to move past a tragedy? Come out the other side stronger? Or will the crushing weight of it all define you, re-shaping your life?

Francis and Lena Gleeson are raising their 3 daughters in a quiet neighborhood. Frances is a police officer well respected by all. A rising star in his department, he has truly found his calling.

Brian Stanhope lives next door with his wife Anne and th
...more
Christine
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Christine by: Michelle review
This one was really hard to rate until I thought things through as I wrote my review. There are some very strong positives about this book, but the disappointments are…well, really disappointing.

First, the positives. Ask Again,Yes is extremely well written. This author can really tell a tale in a most accomplished manner. The story involves the relationships between two families and amongst the individual members of both from the early 1970s to the present. The depth and complexity of the writi
...more
emma
Each of these characters deserves a kiss on the forehead.

That’s it.

That’s the review.

I mean, I could say that this book is beautifully written, that it is a test of empathy, a joyous one, that you will ache and feel and celebrate alongside these characters.

But everything really boils down to the fact that every single character in this whole book, from the main characters to their relatives to the people they meet at the grocery store deli counter (ahem), deserves to be given a big hug and tucke
...more
Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
5 stars!

A powerful, thought-provoking journey through the lives of two families forever changed by tragedy.

Everything about this book got to me! The exquisite writing, the relatable characters, the life changing decisions. Once I started, this novel consumed my thoughts whether I was reading it or not. I wanted to get to the end to see how everything would turn out, yet I dreaded flipping that last page and having to say goodbye to these remarkable people. These characters tugged at my heart and
...more
Karen
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Oh my... this book...these characters.
I loved this story. The story starts out in the 1970’s, with two young New York police officers (partners, for awhile) who end up living next door to each other in a suburban neighborhood.
As their family’s are growing, a tragedy occurs that changes all their lives, and keeps them entwined forever.
Mental illness, alcoholism, estrangements, and most of all love and forgiveness are at the center of this novel that takes the reader with them to present day.
This
...more
Diane S ☔
May 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lor-2019
For a short time they were partners, Francis and Brian, two cops from the same precinct. Then they moved their families to the same neighborhood, across the street from each other. Brian's only son and Francis's youngest daughter grow up best friends. Then something terrible happens that will divide these two family's for decades.

Domestic fiction can be tricky to write, to find the right tone. This novel got it pretty neat to right. Although many dramatic occurrences happen, the tone is not over
...more
Deanna
Sep 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-releases

My reviews can also be seen at: https://deesradreadsandreviews.wordpr...

3.5 Stars!!


“Ask Again, Yes” is a story is about two families, The Stanhopes and the Gleasons. Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope met when they were both rookies for the NYPD in the early 1970s. When Francis Gleeson and his family moved to a home in the suburbs, it wasn’t long before Brian Stanhope and his wife, Anne moved in next door. Francis’s wife Lena made attempts to get close to Anne, but Anne was standoffish and didn’
...more
Larry H
Jul 15, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.

The repercussions of a decision or an action can have ripple effects for years to come. No better is this demonstrated than in Mary Beth Keane's new novel, Ask Again, Yes . This story of how much we owe those we love and how much we should endure for the sake of family is tremendously thought-provoking and emotional.

Francis Gleeson and Brian Stanhope are both rookie policemen for the NYPD in the 1970s. They build a friendship of sorts based on their mutual Irish heritage, although i
...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

Please be advised I am 100% a wrongreader of this one. However, as long as things like Book of the Month Club and Instagram and endless zero-cost-to-me reads from my library exist, I will continue reading everything available to me (generally without even looking at a blurb or a review first, as was the case here) for the rest of eternity.

Simply put, Ask Again, Yes is a family drama – or what I like to call . . . .



The story here
...more
Jennifer Blankfein
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this moving story of young love, family trauma and the aftermath…mental illness, addiction, forgiveness and the power of love kept me engrossed until the very last page.

Two young policeman work together in Brooklyn in the 1970s. To distance themselves from the job after the workday and to start families they both move to the suburbs with their wives and end up living next door. Francis and Lena have three daughters, one named Kate, and Brian and Anne have a son, Peter. Kate and Peter hav
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Such a Fun Age
  • The Most Fun We Ever Had
  • Dear Edward
  • The Dutch House
  • The Vanishing Half
  • Evvie Drake Starts Over
  • The Giver of Stars
  • A Woman Is No Man
  • American Dirt
  • Nothing to See Here
  • In Five Years
  • City of Girls
  • Things You Save in a Fire
  • Mrs. Everything
  • All Adults Here
  • Long Bright River
  • The Gifted School
  • Big Summer
See similar books…
2,084 followers
Mary Beth Keane attended Barnard College and the University of Virginia, where she received an MFA. She was awarded a John S. Guggenheim fellowship for fiction writing, and has received citations from the National Book Foundation, PEN America, and the Hemingway Society. She is the author of The Walking People, Fever, and most recently, Ask Again, Yes, which was a New York Times Best Seller. Both F ...more

Articles featuring this book

Trying to figure out what to read next? Why not add some 2019 Goodreads Choice Award titles to your Want to Read list? After all, these popular...
112 likes · 25 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“The thing is, Peter, grown-ups don't know what they're doing any better than kids do. That's the truth.” 49 likes
“They'd both learned that a memory is a fact that has been dyed and trimmed and rinsed so many times that it comes out looking almost unrecognizable to anyone else who was in that room or anyone who was standing on the grass beneath that telephone pole.” 46 likes
More quotes…