Americans in Space
Mary E. Mitchell
Dunne, Oct 13 2009, $24.99
In Boston, forty-two years old Kyle Cavanaugh suddenly died from an undiagnosed heart condition. He had been seemingly in perfect health even having a full head of hair when he passed away leaving behind a grieving stunned wife Kate, an equally shocked teenage daughter Charlotte and their two year old toddler Hunter.
Two years later, the Cavanaugh family has disintegrated as a loving unit though the surviving trio still lives together. A guidance counselor Kate remains a tired disbeliever scorning health providers for missing her lovely spouse’s condition. Charlotte stopped butchering the violin and has become a sullen angry teen who cannot talk to her mother. Hunter’s companion is Heinz ketchup bottles. The affluent techno linebacker next door kindhearted "Auntie Marge" is the only reason the deceleration into total collapse has been somewhat aborted. Deciding she needs to finally reach her two children, Kate takes them on a road show over the objection of her oldest and the bewilderment of her youngest.
Although a five tissue tear jerker, the four Cavanaugh members (Kyle through the memories of the older two) make for a profound look at grief when a relatively young seemingly healthy patriarch suddenly dies. Kate is terrific at the high school where she works and Charlotte attends but cannot communicate with her daughter without screaming and door slamming. Charlotte’s brooding and ire are overdone yet enhance the drifting apart like Hubble’s theory on an expanding red-shifting universe. However, the story line is owned by Hunter who will leave readers with plenty of empathetic tears.