Jen (Thismomreads)'s Reviews > Alphonse

Alphonse by Carl Sever
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really liked it

Thank you to the publisher, Sparkpress (via Netgalley) for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. Alphonse will be released June 27, 2017.

What an emotional powerhouse. This one was a heavy, but completely satisfying read. If this debut is any indication, I cannot wait for Carl Sever’s next book!

Alphonse is the protagonist of this coming of age story. A former rail rider, he has settled in the small town of Saint Joseph, Indiana. The town is a perfect example of postwar America; a tight knit community, fearful of outsiders and defined by the looming church at it’s center. Alphonse is the self proclaimed guardian of the Sadler family; father Edgar, dealing with the debilitating loss of his vision, his wife Sarah and their two sons, Zach and young Francis. Alphonse and Francis are especially close and he prides himself on teaching Francis fishing and trapping skills. When Alphonse notices that the Monsignor of the church, the sadistic Father Brennon, has taken a particular interest in Francis, he will do whatever it takes to protect him.

Without giving away too much of the plot, I will say this was a beautifully crafted, if hard to stomach at times narrative. Sever really brings this small town community to life. His vivid prose expertly transports you right into the middle of Saint Joseph.

It was impossible to not feel a strong connection to the Sadler family. Young and impressionable Francis stole my heart and I could not help but feel sick, as Monsignor Brennon’s true intentions towards him become clear. As the novel progressed, I felt the desperation Edgar felt as the abuse his son suffered was brought to light. I also felt for Alphonse, dealing with his own past abuses and vowing to protect those unable to protect themselves. Sever has created characters you will root for until the very last page.

I will caution that this novel may not appeal to everyone. It deals with heavy subject matter, specifically child abuse, which may be a trigger for some. That being said, if you are a fan of emotional coming of age stories with deeply developed characters, Alphonse is a must read

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Reading Progress

June 9, 2017 – Started Reading
June 9, 2017 – Shelved
June 11, 2017 – Finished Reading

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