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The size of this novel equates to the size of this story Mammoth Huge Epic Lehane sweeps us into the world at the end of ww1 in Boston It s a time of unrest, social uprising, anarchists, revolutionaries, immigrants, plagues and violence It s the story of 2 men One white an Irish cop one black, a house worker Both struggling to define themselves during a turbulent time in history leading up to a given day, where change is inevitable.The stories are told In contrasting parallel with ric The size of this novel equates to the size of this story Mammoth Huge Epic Lehane sweeps us into the world at the end of ww1 in Boston It s a time of unrest, social uprising, anarchists, revolutionaries, immigrants, plagues and violence It s the story of 2 men One white an Irish cop one black, a house worker Both struggling to define themselves during a turbulent time in history leading up to a given day, where change is inevitable.The stories are told In contrasting parallel with richly flawed characters and a dense story of these lives converging.This is a pint drinking warm comfort food kind of read If you are looking for a quick fix, this isn t it The characters are slowly developed with historical significance of the city of Boston at the forefront.A compelling and descriptive story of a country fighting its own internal war An engaging read 4.25 it could have been shortened slightly as the story was interspersed w a Babe Ruth story which would not have impacted the plot in anyway The Given Day is the tale of two men, Danny Coughlin and Luther Laurence, and their families, set against the backdrop of pre prohibition Boston.Yeah, I know that didn t really say much but it s hard to write a teaser for a 700 page historical novel.As I understand it, this was Dennis Lehane s return to the novel world after five years of doing other things, mostly writing for The Wire And he crammed every thought he may have had in about Boston in the early 20th Century in those five years int The Given Day is the tale of two men, Danny Coughlin and Luther Laurence, and their families, set against the backdrop of pre prohibition Boston.Yeah, I know that didn t really say much but it s hard to write a teaser for a 700 page historical novel.As I understand it, this was Dennis Lehane s return to the novel world after five years of doing other things, mostly writing for The Wire And he crammed every thought he may have had in about Boston in the early 20th Century in those five years into this book.Danny Coughlin is a cop working hellish hours, almost 100 hours a week, with the Boston PD, following in the footsteps of his cop father He s conflicted about his feelings for Nora, his family s housekeeper, and is something of a black sheep When his father comes asking for help rooting out Boleshivik cells in Boston, how can he say no Luther Laurence, who once played an impromptu baseball game with Babe Ruth, goes from Columbus to Tulsa, and heads to Boston to escape some trouble and winds up working for Danny s father and getting under the thump of another cop, Edward McKenna, racist extraordinaire.Danny and Luther drive the book, living through historical events like the Spanish Influenza epidemic and the Boston Molasses Explosion, while dealing with their conflicts with their respective families For the most part, it s a pretty gripping read The political climate of Boston circa 1920 was a spectacle to behold downtrodden blacks, unions rising up to protest horrible pay and working conditions, communists lurking in the shadows, and the old guard struggling to hold everything together and maintain the status quo.The supporting cast is a diverse and colorful bunch Ed McKenna is despicable but you get the feeling he s doing what he thinks is right, which makes him that muchhorrible Danny s father and brother are also conflicted characters I also really liked the friendship between Luther and Nora.The entire cast goes through the meat grinder so many times they look like ham salad by the end of the book While the ending is largely happy, it s not a happily ever after sort of thing More like a we re lucky to be alive sort of thing.Like I said, it was a really good read but I felt like LeHane was trying to take on too much at times There was a little too much going on and also it felt like LeHane did a ton of research and was trying to get the most of out his nickel with it Cutting 100 pages out of this beast wouldn t have hurt it Also, apart from the initial baseball game with Luther, I thought the Babe Ruth parts were pretty unnecessary.This one is right on the 3 4 line I guess I m going to call it a 3.5 October 2015 Buddy read with Stepheny the kidnapper with the heart ofwelllots of people probably, Jeff the whiny prisoner with a blue crayon, and Jess the not so innocent bystander, and two new comers who incidentally finished waaaaaay before me Steve and CarmenExtra Extra read all about it image error THE GIVEN DAY is a historical novel set in Boston Massachusetts and Tulsa Oklahoma.Aiden Danny Coughlin, an Irish Boston Police patrolman whose father Thomas is an influential October 2015 Buddy read with Stepheny the kidnapper with the heart ofwelllots of people probably, Jeff the whiny prisoner with a blue crayon, and Jess the not so innocent bystander, and two new comers who incidentally finished waaaaaay before me Steve and CarmenExtra Extra read all about it image error THE GIVEN DAY is a historical novel set in Boston Massachusetts and Tulsa Oklahoma.Aiden Danny Coughlin, an Irish Boston Police patrolman whose father Thomas is an influential detective and captain in the police department, and Luther Laurence a black amateur baseball player from Columbus, Ohioare the two main characters.Babe Ruth appears in the prologue and various chapters within the novel image error WWI is over and union organizing activities are happening across the country The year is 1918 and the Boston patrolmen have not been given a raise since 1905 They have been promised raises after the war is overbut as of yet that promise has not been keptand they are living way below the poverty level Things are not going well in Boston and Luther who has recently moved here with hopes of a new start, and Danny both have their hands full dealing with corrupt cops and politicians who manipulate the system at every turn image error In a country they no longer recognize image error I loved THE GIVEN DAY.even though it took me a long time to read it It was one of those right book, wrong time moments.but I am soooo looking forward to the next in the series.just not right now Imagine an America where the wealthy people in power rule a system in which they are free to reap enormous profits through unregulated businesses while every privilege that society can offer is given to them These titans of capitalism underpay their employees for hard labor that lasts at least twelve hours a day in unsafe conditions with no overtime or benefits If any of these workers dare complain, then the government will happily label them as dangerous socialist terrorists who threaten the Imagine an America where the wealthy people in power rule a system in which they are free to reap enormous profits through unregulated businesses while every privilege that society can offer is given to them These titans of capitalism underpay their employees for hard labor that lasts at least twelve hours a day in unsafe conditions with no overtime or benefits If any of these workers dare complain, then the government will happily label them as dangerous socialist terrorists who threaten the American way of life and do anything within its power to crush any attempts to organize the labor Ah, it s enough to make a right wing conservative weep with joy.Danny Coughlin is a Boston patrolman at the end of World War I Since his father is a legendary and politically connected police captain, it seems like Danny s got a bright future ahead of him with the department Danny s father and some other power brokers offer him a chance to make detective by going undercover in various subversive groups including the social club of the Boston Police Department which is lookingandlike a union.Danny doesn t want to cause problems for his fellow police men who have been shafted by the city Working a minimum of almost 80 hours a week at a wage below the poverty level and forced to pay for their own uniforms and equipment, the men of the BPD literally can t feed their families but when their grievances are brought up, the men in charge insist that the cops are vital government personnel and therefore can t strike so they can safely be told to go fuck themselves When the men complain about this treatment, the politicians are shocked and insist that anybody who wants to make enough money to buy his kids some food is nothing but a damn Bolshevik Danny eventually finds an actual danger to the public in the form of a bomb happy anarchist, but his superiors continue to beconcerned with those who might force change on the economic system.Meanwhile, a black man named Luther Laurence, who is on the run following a messy incident with a local kingpin in Tulsa, is trying to lay low in Boston and ends up working for Danny s family Luther has a hard enough time just working around the racism that runs through all aspects of life, but things get worse when he runs afoul of a psychotic police crony of Danny s father Danny and Luther eventually strike up a friendship that defies the odds as they get caught up in the conflict between the old world and the changes being forced upon it.Lehane s books have often a crime oriented social component to it, and it seems like his time working for HBO s The Wire encouraged him to add a depth and complexity to his work in this historical fiction This is the story of a bygone era, but it seems familiar since the tactics employed by the powerful are still in use One of their favorites is getting half of the working class to turn on itself by claiming that anyone who questions the fairness of the economic system is an American hating socialist as well as probably being a secret terrorist Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.The only parts that really didn t work for me were the interludes with Babe Ruth It seems like Lehane was trying to point out some things regarding a common guy who could barely read becoming rich and famous as a city ripped itself apart while refusing to pay its police a living wage, but those segments just didn t seem to sync up with the other action.Still, it s one of Lehane s best and most ambitious books yet Set in Boston at the end of the First World War, New York Times best selling author Dennis Lehane s long awaited eighth novel unflinchingly captures the political and social unrest of a nation caught at the crossroads between past and future The Given Day tells the story of two families one black, one white swept up in a maelstrom of revolutionaries and anarchists, immigrants and ward bosses, Brahmins and ordinary citizens, all engaged in a battle for survival and powerBeat cop Danny Coughlin, the son of one of the city s most beloved and powerful police captains, joins a burgeoning union movement and the hunt for violent radicals Luther Laurence, on the run after a deadly confrontation with a crime boss in Tulsa, works for the Coughlin family and tries desperately to find his way home to his pregnant wifeHere, too, are some of the most influential figures of the era Babe Ruth Eugene O Neill leftist activist Jack Reed NAACP founder W E B DuBois Mitchell Palmer, Woodrow Wilson s ruthless Red chasing attorney general cunning Massachusetts governor Calvin Coolidge and an ambitious young Department of Justice lawyer named John HooverCoursing through some of the pivotal events of the time including the Spanish Influenza pandemic and culminating in the Boston Police Strike of , The Given Day explores the crippling violence and irrepressible exuberance of a country at war with, and in the thrall of, itself As Danny, Luther, and those around them struggle to define themselves in increasingly turbulent times, they gradually find family in one another and, together, ride a rising storm of hardship, deprivation, and hope that will change all their lives It s interesting to see an author branch out from his her comfort zone and attempt to tackle a different genre Here Dennis Lehane tries his hand at Historical Fiction and although not entirely a fiasco, the book falls far short of his usual compelling work Centered on the labor unrest and Red Scare of 1918 19 in Boston, the book bites offthan it can chew and at over 700 pages feels bloated To a lesser or greater degree, Lehane also references World War I, the Spanish Flu pandemic, race It s interesting to see an author branch out from his her comfort zone and attempt to tackle a different genre Here Dennis Lehane tries his hand at Historical Fiction and although not entirely a fiasco, the book falls far short of his usual compelling work Centered on the labor unrest and Red Scare of 1918 19 in Boston, the book bites offthan it can chew and at over 700 pages feels bloated To a lesser or greater degree, Lehane also references World War I, the Spanish Flu pandemic, race relations, Prohibition, the 1919 Black Sox scandal, and a Boston molasses factory explosion.A huge sticky tar like sea of molasses everywhere, giving birth to the expression slow as molasses Really That s where the expression originatedshrugs shoulders I guess.Lehane creates fictionalized events from the life of Babe Ruth as a narrative framing device and these are some of the best chapters The book initially starts off alternating between the trials and tribulations of Luther Lawrence, an African American and Danny Coughlin, a Boston policeman Lehane uses Lawrence s chapters to illustrate the plight of African Americans, while Coughlin s chapters are used to bring the story to the climactic police strike, examining as much of the times as Lehane can squeeze in along the way.Even the narrative structure breaks down as Lawrence s chapters, the ones with some of Lehane s traditional zing, become fewer and farther between and Lehane, late in the novel, even introduces other character centric chapters to muddy the flow even further Of course, at some point Lawrence goes from Ohio via Oklahoma to Boston in order to become best pals with Danny Charles Dickens would be proud.As with much historical fiction, real people, other than Babe Ruth, are pigeon holed into the story J Edgar Hoover, Eugene O Neill, Jack Reed, and Calvin Coolidge view spoiler who gets punched in the face, twice hide spoiler.Keep cool with Coolidge I love most of the characters, but Lehane cuts them adrift and they almost drown in a sea of history If you re expecting Kenzie Gennaro level intensity, it isn t hereThis was a Non Crunchy Pantless buddy read on the side with Steve, Carmen, Jess, Delee and that banshee, Stepheny He felt a hopelessness that had refused to leave him since he d woken on the basement floor of Salutation Street It wasn t just Salutation though that would play a large role in his thoughts for the rest of his life , it was the world The way it gathered speed with every passing day The way the faster it went, the less it seemed to be steered by any rudder or guided by any constellation The way it just continued to sail on, regardless of him.I hate the cover It s so ugly Couldn t they do He felt a hopelessness that had refused to leave him since he d woken on the basement floor of Salutation Street It wasn t just Salutation though that would play a large role in his thoughts for the rest of his life , it was the world The way it gathered speed with every passing day The way the faster it went, the less it seemed to be steered by any rudder or guided by any constellation The way it just continued to sail on, regardless of him.I hate the cover It s so ugly Couldn t they do any better than this This book is about three people whose lives end up crossing paths.1 Babe Ruth This is the smallest portion of the book, Ruth doesn t even get a third of the book Perhaps 10% While reading fictional accounts of real people always makes me uncomfortable, I have to say that Lehane has obviously really done his research on Ruth I feel like this is a realistic and accurate portrayal, and a very well written one.2 45% of the book is dedicated to Danny Coughlin, a Boston police officer from a wealthy Irish American family his mom and dad were born in Ireland His father is Chief of Police.Danny vacillates between being a man and being a piece of shit in this book At times he is helping pregnant women and beating up rapists, saving immigrant women from arrest and standing up for his friends At other times he is doing things like fantasizing about a woman s rape, and allowing a woman he loves to starve in extreme poverty.At 68% of the book, Danny finally starts shaping up to stand up and actually be a man full time It was such a relief to me after lecturing him non stop for 480 pages of the novel Actually, not non stop, because half of the time I was lecturing our third protagonist 3 Luther Laurence He is a black man living in Ohio He is in love with Lila, and then is surprised when she gets pregnant with his baby She wants to move with her folks But of course they are Christians and as soon as her aunt finds out she s pregnant, she and Luther have a shotgun wedding.Luther feels completely suffocated and constrained by marriage to his lovely, loving wife Even though he has a great and well paying job, he starts fucking around with a kingpin who runs drugs When shit goes down as it always does when you are involved in the criminal underworld, he has to flee Tulsa But his woman refuses to go with him, calling him on his piece of shit behavior So he goes to Boston alone and that s where his path crosses with Danny I won t say anything else because I don t want to spoil you.Luther is sometimes an excellent, badass man Like Danny, he did things that made me cheer he stands up for women who are in trouble He defends his friends and is a loyal friend He beats and kills men who need beating and killing He shows mercy on people sometimes too much mercy, in my opinion He really, really has the potential to be an amazing man.BUT Just like Danny, I was alternating between cheering him, swooning over his manliness and cursing him out for being a complete shitheel He fucks up his life He fucks up his woman s life and puts her in danger He does some other bad things that I won t list here view spoiler But just like Danny, Luther shapes up to be a man and a strong, badass one at that by the end of the novel hide spoiler They were a scary sight Luther would admit that much as he caught their reflection in the window of Arthur Smalley s living room as they walked up the steps to his house two wound up colored men with masks that covered their noses and mouths, one of them with a row of black stitches sticking out of his jaw like a spiked fence Time was, the look of them would have been enough to terror the money out of any God fearing Greenwood man, but these days it didn t mean much most folks were scary sights.Well, that s good, Carmen That means Lehane is writing realistic and three dimensional characters.Yes, I agree The male characters ARE realistic and three dimensional As an added bonus, the book is 702 pages long, so you really get deep into their respective psyches and you get to know them very well It s excellent.But I don t have to tell you how exhausted I am after 702 pages of lecturing men on how to act right Jeez This book is about men acting wrong and making poor decisions There was no end to the yelling, shouting, and scolding I was doing My voice is hoarse.WOMENYou might have noticed I said that the MALE characters were realistic and three dimensional Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for the women who are paragons of virtue, patience, hearth and home.The only woman who is not like this is a through and through villain, a femme fatale with seemingly no soul Danny expresses bewilderment at this woman and her behavior It was as if she d had an overpowering need to remake her rage as flesh and blood, to be certain it would live on and pass down through the generations This need and 00000000 name hidden to avoid spoilers , as a whole was something he would never understand.Really You don t understand this She was sold to a brothel when she was 12 YOU KNOW THIS Do you think you can possibly connect her being a sex slave since she was a child to her rage and her seditious behavior Do you think that one might have to do with the other THINK, man Use your head Sadly, this never dawns on Danny and is never ever discussed in the books One sentence is dedicated to the fact that she was a sex slave 10 billion sentences are dedicated to her incomprehensible evil No character puts together these two facts, Lehane NEVER gives her backstory besides this one fact that slipped out It could have been FASCINATING if Lehane who is a great character artist developed a backstory for her or gave us a window into her reasoning and motives BUT NO.I was really disappointed in Lehane on this front Of the three main really, they are side characters to the men female characters dealt with in this book, two are angels and one is the devil No nuance No subtleties The men are rich in flavor, detail, and character The women while beautifully described and given wonderful dialogue and personalities are only allowed to be saints or sinners.BRUTAL HATREDI want you to know as a fair warning that Lehane pulls no punches in regards to the racism, misogyny, anti Semitism, hatred of Italians, hatred of gay men, etc etc etc that were a big part of America in 1919 Brace yourself.Because Luther is a black character, I found the racism against black people to be the hardest for me deal with in this novel I literally had to put this down and stop reading for a while after Chapter 11 because I was getting too depressed Luther is sneered at, beaten, spit on, betrayed, lied to, harassed, etc etc all the time, day after day, hour after hour by white people It was completely devastating Very powerful and effective writing on Lehane s part.As for women, there are a few rapes in this novel, but they either happen off page or far in the past, so I was holding together okay Nothing I had to DNF over I really appreciated his delicate handling of sex crimes.Tons of slurs against Jewish people, Italians, fat people, gay men etc etc etc but as none of those people were main characters or even side characters it is all talk But I m telling you because it might be disturbing to some readers Very offensive language is used to talk about these groups quite frequently.It s also a violent book If you have no stomach for violence, perhaps this isn t you It s not overly graphic Lehane is NOT creating gratuitous, overly described violence here, but the violence does permeate almost every page.JOE ABERCROMBIEDennis Lehane reminds me a lot of Joe Abercrombie.What Carmen They are so different Abercrombie writes fantasy and Lehane is writing historical fiction here With real life characters such as Babe Ruth and J Edgar Hoover.Yes, but they are both so grim Both authors create a world that is just full of pain, suffering, rape, injustice, hatred, murder, greed, child molestation, etc etc etc It s depressing I realize that 1919 was not exactly a paradise, but I doubt it was a complete cesspool of pain and misery.But Lehane has a redeeming feature that Abercrombie lacks view spoiler he is able to give his characters relative happiness at the end with only a few permanent damages hide spoiler Abercrombie never cottoned to this idea, which makes his books worse, in my opinion Both men are expert world builders and masters of wordcraft There s NO DOUBT about their skills and talents However, Lehane allows me to close the book with a tiny bit of hope, and Abercrombie takes great delight in crushing all my hope to dust beneath his heel It s no wonder I prefer Lehane.Lehane counters his three dimensional am I a piece of shit or am I a man MCs with complete through and through villains He does this to lessen their shitty behavior Sure, you think, Danny is just allowing this woman he s in love with to starve to death on the street But he s nothing like Villain, who is murdering a black man every week just to prove a point or Villain II who is a grown man regularly raping his 14 year old cousin This kind of he may acting shitty but this guy over here deserves to die painfully act is popular with authors who writeunlikable heroes It s effective, but don t think I don t see what you are doing, Mr Lehane.Lehane is an amazing writer The faces of the mob, however, did not elicit anything near to joy in him His people, the faces nearest him as Irish as potatoes and drunken sentiment, all twisted into repulsive, barbaric masks of rage and self pity As if they d a RIGHT to do this As if the country owed them anythan it had handed Thomas when he stepped off the boat, which is to say nothing but a fresh chance He wanted to push them straight back to Ireland, straight back to the loving arms of the British, back to their corn fields and their dank pubs and their toothless women What had that gray country ever given them except melancholia and alcoholism and the dark humor of the habitually defeated So they came here, one of the few cities in the world where their kind was given a fair shake But did they act like Americans Did they act with respect or gratitude No They acted like what they were the niggers of Europe How dare they When this was over, it would take Thomas and good Irishmen like him another decade to undo all the damage this mob had done in two days Damn you all, he thought as they continued to push them back Damn you all for smearing our race yet again.That s from one of the novel s conflicted villains.Here s one from Luther Luther gave a soft smile but didn t say anything He d lost comfort with saying nigger, even around other colored men But both Jessie and the Deacon Brocious had used it constantly, and some part of Luther felt he d entombed it with them back at the Club Almighty He couldn t explain it any better than that, just that it didn t feel right coming off his tongue any longer Like most things, he assumed, the feeling would pass, but for nowHere s Danny Danny would have thought it outrageous if it hadn t been steeped in a truth he d accepted since he could first walk the system fucked the workingman The only realistic decision a man had to make was if he was going to buck the system and starve, or play it with so much pluck and guts that none of its inequities applied to him.Lehane is a wonderful writer His book is gripping for all 702 pages I couldn t put it down except out of sorrow after Chapter 11 The racism is very hard to read about and he kept me glued to the pages every step of the way.However, some of his writing was not so good Like when Lehane goes on and on about how wonderful a certain character is, and how everyone loves him and is attracted to his presence men, women, children, dogs, and then he ends the paragraph with Because there was something unbroken in the man And people followed him, maybe, just to see it break.That s the stupidest thing I ve ever heard.How about this one his eyes so clear it was impossible to read them They could have been the eyes of a lamb lying down in the last spot of sun on a summer evening Or those of a lion, waiting for the lamb to get sleepy.WTF I just no.How about this and one of those loud, jolly natures Luther believed could never be trusted Men like that always hid the part of themselves that wasn t smiling and hid it so deep it got all the hungrier, like a bear just come out of hibernation, lumbering out of that cave with a scent in its nose so focused it couldn t ever be reasoned with.I seriously don t know where Lehane is coming up with this shit.Lastly, let s talk about how attractive Luther and Danny are There were some serious swoon moments For Danny, it was when he comes to the rescue of a pregnant woman who is in labor, scooping her up in her arms and physically CARRYING her to the hospital, OMG, can he be anysexy He scooped her up in his arms and started walking and staggering, walking and staggering, the woman not terribly heavy, but squirming and clawing the air and slapping his chest.For Luther, OMG He s so badass Look at this scene where he s dealing with a very evil manPlease, he said again Please WHAT Make this right Okay, Luther said and put the gun into the folds under 00000 s chin and pulled the trigger with the man looking in his eyes.Or how about when a man comes hunting Luther trying to kill him, sent by an even eviler man First, Luther beats the shit out of him Then, Luther shrugged I am special Any day aboveground that I ain t you or I ain t THAT He jerked his thumb behind him You re goddamned fucking correct I m special Ain t afraid of them any, ain t afraid of you, ain t afraid of this here color of my skin Fuck all that forever Old Byron rolled his eyes Like you even less Good Luther smiled He crouched by Old Byron I spect you ll live, old man You get back on the train to Tulsa Hear And when you get off it, you go run your sad ass right to 00000 and tell him you missed me Tell him it don t matter none, though, because he ain t going to have to look hard for me from now on Luther lowered himself until he was close enough to kiss Old Byron Jackson You tell 00000000 I m coming for HIM He slapped his good cheek once, hard I m coming home, Old Byron You tell 000000000 that You don t Luther shrugged I ll tell him myself He stood and crossed the broken glass and stepped through the window He never looked back at Old Byron he worked his way through the feverish white folk and the screams and the rain and the storm of the hive and he knew he was done with every lie he d ever allowed himself to believe, every like he d ever lived, every lie.Damn That is some fine writing and that is a fine man D Yum ANYWAY.Tl dr I think reading One Summer America, 1927 by Bill Bryson earlier this year really helped me to already be in the mood and mindset to accept this novel It also educated me to the extent that I was familiar with the history and the time period, it was all fresh in my mind.Lehane is a master I can t put it any other way 702 pages of historical fiction especially featuring Babe Ruth and baseball could have been an absolute nightmare Instead, Lehane made it an absolute dream This book is unputdownable Well written, fast moving, and with amazing psychology and character development for the male protagonists I can t wait to rip into the two sequels and complete the trilogy Maybe THIS, of all things, was the true price of family being unable to stop the pains of those you loved Unable to suck it out of the blood, the heart, the head You held them and named them and fed them and made your plans for them, never fully realizing that the world was always out there, waiting to apply it s teeth. The Given Day taught me something very important about myself I don t like historical fiction.I like fiction Apparently I only like certain parts of history When I read Mystic River I was blown away I absolutely loved Lehane s writing He was eloquent and thought provoking even moving at times So when Honk, Graymeat and the White Candle sometimes Candlestick and this here crazy MahFah decided we were going to read a Dennis Lehane book I was over the moon about it I already owned the Given The Given Day taught me something very important about myself I don t like historical fiction.I like fiction Apparently I only like certain parts of history When I read Mystic River I was blown away I absolutely loved Lehane s writing He was eloquent and thought provoking even moving at times So when Honk, Graymeat and the White Candle sometimes Candlestick and this here crazy MahFah decided we were going to read a Dennis Lehane book I was over the moon about it I already owned the Given Day and thought it was a perfect choice.Boy was I wrong.I only liked one person in this whole book Luther For me, Luther was the only real character in the book The others felt like ideas, or shadows of people we know They fell flat for me and I had a very hard time connecting with anyone but Luther Luther s decisions, though at times were horrible, made sense to me He acted without thinking, he committed a crime and he left his pregnant wife behind in the wake of his heinous acts BUT, I understood those decisions I couldn t completely sympathize with him but I could at the very least understand that once one thing happened a whole slew of other things happened right after before he had time to evaluate it That s what happens in life And I like when writers capture those real life situations It s my favorite That s why Mystic River struck such a chord with me he captured very realistic reactions by the characters in his book.I didn t like a single person in the Coughlin family no not even Danny who for some reason was called Aiden randomly Danny was a big time whiner If there is one thing in men that drives me nuts the most it would be whining Maybe it s because my dad was never a complaining type and I grew accustomed to men who just went about their life knowing they did what they had to and did so without complaint Luther reminded me a lot of my father view spoiler Not the part where he kills a guy hide spoiler No, not that part, but even given his situation he rarely, if ever, commented on it He didn t wallow in his own self pity He worked, he saved, and he lived Danny, sometimes Aiden, did nothing but play the victim He complained incessantly and there were times I wanted to reach through the pages and rip his throat out just to get him to shut up He was also the Ned Stark of this book But this is the LEGAL and RIGHT and JUST way of doing things He failed to understand that in life there are grey areas He wouldn t bend, he wouldn t budge and he certainly would not open his eyes even when the facts were laid out before them I hated his father the most though an arrogant and self righteous man who needed to control every aspect of his family s life He was filled with hate, anger and resentment and I grew to loathe him like I did Professor Umbridge He was a mean old bastard.None of the other characters even warrant discussion in my opinion They were background noise on an already muddled storyline As I have already mentioned the only storyline in the book that I cared for was Luther s and he is the reason this book gets the rating it does I almost one starred it but in the end Luther resonated with me and I can t discredit Lehane too much for that I just think this book was bogged down with history OBVIOUSLY I won t be trying historical fiction again This clearly was a huge failure Maybe I should stick to Nicholas Sparks view spoiler FUCK YOU, Kimberly hide spoiler This is not to say that my buddies didn t make the experience better It s always a hoot to get the gang together This book just happened to be a mind numbing slog for me Carmen and Steve both joined us late but ended up finishing before any of us I think Lehane hasn t written a book in five years The Given Day is his return to fiction.It is a big book, both in length 700 pages and scope Set in late 1918 1919, the book follows two men, one Irish Boston cop Danny Coughlin and a black man from Tulsa Luther Laurence The book explores race, baseball, the Boston Police Strike, terrorism, love, and a whole mess of other topics.It is a huge book, and it is beautifully written I could not put it down.The major complaint about this book, I feel, is Lehane hasn t written a book in five years The Given Day is his return to fiction.It is a big book, both in length 700 pages and scope Set in late 1918 1919, the book follows two men, one Irish Boston cop Danny Coughlin and a black man from Tulsa Luther Laurence The book explores race, baseball, the Boston Police Strike, terrorism, love, and a whole mess of other topics.It is a huge book, and it is beautifully written I could not put it down.The major complaint about this book, I feel, is going to be the amount of coincidences that drive the plot along The first of this coincidences I found rather jarring, but as I moved along I realized that this is a Dickensian novel Lehane seems to be giving his best Dickens impression, coincidences and all.A wonderful novel that is at once a crime story, a love story, and a political thriller Historical fiction at it s finest.The prologue is one of the best baseball short stories I ve ever read Set in Boston at the end of the First World War, The Given Day covers the political and social unrest of the time.Danny Coughlin, son of Police Chief Thomas Coughlin, is also in the police force Both are held in high regard by their respective colleagues.Danny and his fellow police officers are paid a lowly wage, less than half of what a tram driver earns Their earnings cannot even feed their families To top it all they have to pay for their own uniforms and work in stations infested with rat Set in Boston at the end of the First World War, The Given Day covers the political and social unrest of the time.Danny Coughlin, son of Police Chief Thomas Coughlin, is also in the police force Both are held in high regard by their respective colleagues.Danny and his fellow police officers are paid a lowly wage, less than half of what a tram driver earns Their earnings cannot even feed their families To top it all they have to pay for their own uniforms and work in stations infested with rats and lice To the disappointment of his father, Danny gets involved in the unions and attends the Boston Social Club meetings each week The second character we follow is Luther Laurence, he moves to Tulsa a progressive free town for African Americans and ends up on the run He finds himself in Boston, where his path crosses that of the Coughlin family The book attempts to cover all aspects of life at that time the Spanish flu pandemic, the growth of the unions, political upheaval, violence, civic corruption and racism, culminating in the Police Strike of 1919 It was interesting to read about the role of Irish imigrants in the growth of the city It is a period in American history that I did not know much about, so I enjoyed this aspect, but I did find it a little bit slow in places