Saturday, September 8, 2012

Mourning Heaven by Amy Lane

Amy Lane had an author's note for this book explaining that album Magic by Bruce Springsteen had been her inspiration for this story. Since it's one of my favorites album's of his, I braced myself for some heartache. However, like most of Bruce's songs AND Amy's books, I was a bit shaken in the end it's true, but I was also glad of how  lucky I am to be able to hear or read the stories they have to tell.

Who'll be the last to die for a mistake
The last to die for a mistake
Whose blood will spill, whose heart will break
Who'll be the last to die for a mistake

This is story is a sad story. Pretty much every character in this book has been broken, broken by prejudice, misguided religiosity, ignorance, hate, stupidity, mostly though by cowardice. 

One tragic thing happened in the town of Daisy six years before, it was no one's fault really. But the people in Daisy turned that tragedy into a mass grave. 

On the day that Peter learns that his cousin Michael has been killed during his tour of duty...All that poison comes back to haunt him. 

Peter has been in Daisy since he was 12 years old. His mom loved him, but she couldn't take care of him, so she left him with his Aunt Aileen and her son Michael until she could get back on her feet. He was now 23, and still he was in Daisy. He hated Daisy. The people in Daisy were judgmental and hateful...Especially in the last six years since that night. The night that shattered his world and chased away the two people in his life that he loved the most. Michael and Bodi. Michael his family, his friend, his protector, his anchor. Bodi the beatiful boy that he loved from the moment he ever set eyes on him. From the first instant Peter knew he was meant to protect Bodi. Bodi was ethereal and pure...So fragile, the world could break him, Peter knew his calling in life was to keep Bodi from the things that could hurt him...The thing was Michael made Bodi his first, and Peter let him have Bodi. As long as Bodi was happy and whole, Peter was happy too.

You said "Heroes are needed, so heroes get made"
Somebody made a bet, somebody paid

Except this world is harsh and angry and people couldn't forgive Michael and Bodi for their love, because their love had made them fools. Michael the town Golden Boy was a faggot right under their noses...Someone had to pay for that. They did. Bodi left in the middle of the night to a town 100 miles away and never came back, and Michael, he left his whole life ehind, enlisted in the military and came back in a pine box.

Peter who was always braver than that town could handle and gutsier than he ever gave himself credit for, once he knew Michael was gone he went to find Bodi. Bodi needed him to take care of him and he would do it. Six years too late, but he had enough in him to make it happen. He found Bodi working in his garage fixing bikes like he always had, but he found a man that was broken, brittle, lost. So lost. He realized that Michael the man that had been the beacon in their lives was only too human, and had been the most broken of them all. So much so that in his weakness he tore apart Bodi too.

The shadows in Bodi's eyes spoke of a lot sorrow. Bodi had lost hope, and he didn't think his demons were anything that Peter deserved to be burdened with...Except Peter was not giving up so easily.

I'll work for your love dear
I'll work for your love
What others may want for free
I'll work for your love

Peter was going to make Bodi whole again, he was willing to do whatever it took. He understood Bodi's fragility, he had seen it in his own mother. There are some people who need a keeper, someone to make them whole. It may seem unfair, but being able to have the person who you love the most is worth having to be stronger than you ever thought you could. 

Ain't nobody talkin' because everybody knows
We pulled your cycle up back the garage and polished up the chrome

Peter and Bodi they go back to Daisy for the week before Michael's funeral. There are things they need to do, there are things they need to say, and they do it while the restore Michael's bike. That thing had been his pride and joy and they wanted it to go with him.

During those days Peter and Bodi violently or quietly, sometimes with their bodies, sometimes with their voices, sometimes with EVERYTHING they purge the poison that tragic night had injected into their lives they get it all out. They cleanse themselves from the patina that town has left them with and they are able to walk away, if not whole, better positioned for a bright future. 

The ending in this book is bright literally, and it is sedate. This book is the first of Amy Lane's that I ended with a sense of quietness. There was so much pain in this story I felt subdued. It is an awful thing to think that stories like this one happen everyday. That love from a parent, from a lifelong friend can be so fickle. But in the end courage, grace and love won it all, and Bodi and Peter got to live the life that had been stolen from them. 

House on a quiet street, a home for the brave
A glorious kingdom with the sun on your face
Rising from a long night as dark as the grave
On a thin chain of next moments and something like faith
On a morning to order a breakfast to make
A bed draped in sunshine, a body that waits
For the touch of your fingers, the end of the day

Mourning Heaven is available for purchase at Dreamspinner Press


  1. This was a really lovely review. I can't get over how well chosen your quotes are-- I love that you love Bruce too!

    1. Whenever he comes out with a new album I usually listen to it compulsively for like a month! This story was soooo in sync with that album :) glad you approve of the quotes ;)

  2. Fantastic review and great song quotes.... brought the book right back to me. I was exhausted after I finished it, emotionally worn out, but in such a satisfying way. It really was an amazing story.