Sunday, April 9, 2017

ULTIMATUM by K.M. Walton

My students and I have enjoyed K. M. Walton's previous books, CRACKED and EMPTY, so I was excited to see this new book. Her focus on psychological drama between brothers didn't disappoint.

Oscar and Vance are in the middle of a terrible experience. Their alcoholic father has been checked into hospice care and has only days to live. Liver failure after years of drinking is not a pleasant way to go and having to watch their father's final days has both teens struggle to make sense of the pain.

Oscar's portion of the story is told in "real" time as he sits next to his father's bed counting the frequency of his respiration. His older brother Vance inhabits the same room, but communication is at a minimum.

Vance's story tells of several years leading up to their father's last moments. He recalls the chaos of their lives after their mother's death. There were pleasant memories before she became ill, but after her calming influence was removed, their father became more of a bartender for himself instead of for the customers in the local establishment he owned.

While Vance tried to fight back, Oscar became more and more withdrawn. Now the brothers are faced with the fact that after their father is gone, they will only have each other. Will they stick together? Can they pick up the pieces of their lives and help each other cope?

Author K. M. Walton takes readers on a messy journey. Death is difficult enough, but when the only person there to help you is someone you feel you don't know anymore, the problems multiple.

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