Lesley Choyce has written a crazy number of books; over 80 for adults, teens, and children. I only own one that I deliberately bought a few years ago because I was anxious to read it. It is still unread. He also lives in Nova Scotia. All of this to say that I’m wondering what makes me finally pick up a book by a long-known author and read it.
Maybe the cover? The title? Good reviews? Or maybe a number of things conspiring together. In any case, I finally read one of Lesley Choyce’s books, and it won’t be my last.
The Unlikely Redemption of John Alexander MacNeil hooked me from the first page…
John Alexander is a lonely old man who still sets the table for his long-dead wife. He’s been living this way for 30 years when his secluded world is rocked by a pregnant teen – Emily – who needs a place to stay.
Suddenly John Alex’s life is full of pregnancy and baby books. And company. Emily, of course, who has settled in nicely and is happy staying with John Alex. But there are others, too; Emily’s boyfriend who is passionate about saving the earth, Father Walenga who loves to watch Oprah, and Sheila the mobile librarian who has a stunning confession to make.
While all of this is taking place, John Alex believes he might be losing his mind. He tries to hold it together for the sake of Emily, but memories of the past continue to bubble up closer and closer to the surface and we slowly come to learn more about John Alex’s past and what he spends his time brooding about.
It turns out that John Alex needs Emily as much as she needs him.
The Unlikely Redemption of John Alexander MacNeil hits on topics such as old age, loneliness, dementia, teen pregnancy, and even the idea of ghosts. This is a good book to read if you’re looking for the warm fuzzies, and a good addition to the list of heartwarming books like The Unlikely Pilgimage of Harold Fry, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, and The History of Love.
— Consumed by Ink, October 2017