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Only Love Can Break Your Heart

af Ed Tarkington

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
17825117,804 (3.89)2
Struggling to come to terms with the worshipped older brother who disappeared seven years earlier, fifteen-year-old Rocky is seduced by a wealthy older girl in the wake of a mysterious double murder that forces the town to confront past misdeeds.
  1. 10
    My Sunshine Away af M.O. Walsh (achedglin)
    achedglin: Both are well-written Southern gothic bildungsromans set roughly in the late 1980s. They both involve a central crime and betrayal of trust, but are both largely about community. They're not exactly the same, but a fan of one will probably appreciate the other.… (mere)

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» Se også 2 omtaler

Viser 1-5 af 25 (næste | vis alle)
This was such an engaging read - I thoroughly enjoyed it. The story flowed along easily and the characters were interesting, and, in most cases, likable. Ultimately, as the title suggests, it’s about love: not romantic love, but familial love, which is generally the most complex kind. The writing is also very good, without drawing too much attention to itself. I’d recommend this book to just about anyone. ( )
  meredk | Jun 16, 2021 |
4.5 stars.

Utilizing an array of classic rock music as a backdrop, Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Ed Tarkington is a captivating coming of age novel set in the '70s & '80s.

Richard "Rocky" Askew adores and idolizes his much older half-brother Paul. Viewed as the small town's resident bad boy, Paul has earned his reputation with his devil may care attitude and his penchant for smoking cigarettes and drinking beer. Despite the age gap between the brothers, they are close and many of their conversations and exploits take place while listening to Neil Young and other artists of the time period. The defining moment of Rocky's young life occurs when Paul "kidnaps" him then briefly abandons him in the woods before taking him home then leaving town with his girlfriend, Leigh Bowman. Leigh eventually returns to town while Paul's whereabouts remain a mystery for several years.

Rocky's childhood is privileged and rather idyllic despite Paul's disappearance. His father, aka "the Old Man", is much older than Rocky's mother and while a bit gruff, he is a good father. Paul's rebellion is a source of contention between his parents and in an effort to ensure Rocky does not follow in his rebellious footsteps, Rocky's ultra religious mom keeps him on a fairly tight leash. As a teenager, he manages to escape from her watchful eye after he convinces their neighbor's older daughter, Patricia Culver, to hire him as a stable boy/groundskeeper. Patricia also introduces him to pleasures of a more earthly type when they begin an illicit affair.

Unbeknownst to Rocky, Paul's ex-girlfriend Leigh also has an unexpected tie to the Culver family; she is engaged to their much older son, Charles. Despite her upcoming marriage, Leigh's life has not gone smoothly since her return to town. Rumors swirl around the small town about her fragile mental state and her time "resting" in a local mental hospital. Their reunion is uneasy and fraught with tension and Rocky is somewhat taken aback when she decides to reveal what happened after she and Paul left together years earlier. Stunned by her revelations, Rocky is unsure if her account is true and he is left with even more doubts after the events that occur during her wedding.

After the Old Man suffers a debilitating stroke, the mystery of Paul's disappearance is cleared up once and for all. This also marks the beginning of a downward spiral for the Askew family after they discover the Old Man's business venture with the Culvers led to the loss of their fortune after the Black Monday stock market crash. Although still neighbors, they ignore one another until a shocking double murder thrusts both families (and Leigh) back into the spotlight.

An absolutely stunning debut novel , Only Love Can Break Your Heart is an engrossing and nostalgic story set in rural Virginia. Brilliantly developed, multifaceted and intriguing characters bring this tale vibrantly to life while the riveting storyline completely ensnares readers from beginning to end. Ed Tarkington neatly wraps up all of the loose ends with a heartwarming and rather poignant conclusion. A phenomenal novel that I greatly enjoyed and highly recommend.
( )
  kbranfield | Feb 3, 2020 |
Set in a small Virginia town in 1977 Richard, called Rocky by his beloved sixteen-year-old big brother Paul, was almost eight years old. Paul was everything Rocky wished he could be – though he was always in trouble, and not a favorite of his mom. He was a girl charmer, and owned a great collection of records he often invited Rocky to hear in his room. Paul was always there until, one day, he wasn’t. He disappeared with Leigh, his long-time girlfriend.

Rocky missed his brother, but was distracted by his neighbor’s daughter Patricia who he met when he was almost 15 years old. Though she was almost 10 years older, for several months she schooled him in the art of sex in the hayloft of her family’s stable. Rocky was content to spend time with her, and was bereft when she broke up with him after Leigh returned and figured out their relationship.

Many years later Paul returned. Leigh’s time away had badly scarred her, leaving her mentally unstable, for which Paul blamed himself. Though Rocky and the Old Man were thrilled to have him back, Richard’s mom felt he was still the bane of her existence. When their next-door neighbor and wife were found murdered, Paul and Leigh quickly became the main suspects. Were the police overlooking the real killers in their eagerness to solve the crime, or was it true that Rocky’s idol and his girlfriend were murderers?

Rocky, as narrator, told his story as an adult sharing his memories. Though there was lots of rambling as he described his feelings and thoughts during the various events that transpired over the years, what I got out of it was that small town life in the late 70’s meant no one suspected what Patricia was doing to him, that an older father loved both his sons equally, that Rocky’s mom needed to get over herself for disliking her stepson so much, and that Rocky and Paul loved each other very much. That’s what I got out of it, and I’m sticking to it.

Though I wasn’t a huge fan, I’ll leave it up to you Adults to decide if you want to read it or not.

Book review link: https://shouldireaditornot.wordpress.com/2019/11/29/only-love-can-break-your-hea... ( )
  sunshinealma | Nov 29, 2019 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
What’s it about . . .
This is mostly a coming-of-age-story set in Spencerville, Virginia, in the 1970s. The story goes on to span a lifetime including lots of family drama, small town entanglements, and a mystery.

Our narrator is eight-year-old Rocky Askew. He adores his older half-brother, Paul, a rebellious teen with a cool car and a hot girlfriend. One day Paul disappears with his girlfriend and doesn’t return for seven years. During that time Rocky becomes a teenager and begins his journey toward adulthood, but never forgets about Paul.

What did I think . . ..
This is a nostalgic read for those of us who grew up in the 70s. There are many cultural references and Neil Young songs are mentioned often. But even if one can’t relate to the times, the book is well-written, very readable, and with a host of interesting, although often troubled, characters. There was a lot going on, sometimes too much, but still a worthwhile read.

Audio production . . ..
I listened to the audio book which was narrated by Peter Berkrot. His performance was very enjoyable and a pleasure to listen to with excellent pacing good character vocals. ( )
  UnderMyAppleTree | Feb 27, 2017 |
This book grabbed me, pretty much from the beginning. Rocky is a young boy who idolizes his cool older brother, even when it seems like things aren’t going so well for him. Even when he abandons Rocky in the woods. Even when he disappears, his high school girlfriend along for the ride.

Rocky is left to grow up in his small Virginia town without him, with his aging father and young mother, and some neighbors that he is a little too curious about. Especially the daughter, who is definitely too old for the teenager.

And then there’s the murder. And that’s when my spidey sense began to tingle.

The further I read, the more I realized the inspiration for Tarkington’s debut novel. The bones of the mystery belong to a well known murder case in Bedford County, Virginia. I won’t go into more specifics, because I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone that doesn’t want to be spoiled. But the deeper I got into it, the more I recognized it, thanks to being a bit of a true crime TV junkie. And even though I was then able to figure out the secret, I wasn’t upset at all. Frankly, I was tickled that I recognized it, and I’m rather surprised I haven’t seen it mentioned in any other reviews of the book.

But regardless of the spark of inspiration, this was a solid novel. Music fans will pick up on a lot of references, but everyone else can just enjoy a story that at its core is about family and the unbreakable bonds it can create. ( )
  miyurose | Feb 1, 2017 |
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Kanonisk titel
Alternative titler
Oprindelig udgivelsesdato
Vigtige steder
Vigtige begivenheder
Beslægtede film
Priser og hædersbevisninger
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How accidentally a fate is made...or how accidental it all may seem when it is inescapable. - Philip Roth
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For Elizabeth-Lee
--- and in memory of my father, Edward H. Tarkington Sr.
Første ord
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Paul was my half brother.
Sidste ord
Oplysning om flertydighed
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Struggling to come to terms with the worshipped older brother who disappeared seven years earlier, fifteen-year-old Rocky is seduced by a wealthy older girl in the wake of a mysterious double murder that forces the town to confront past misdeeds.

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