Small Mercies by Denis Lehane (2023, 299 pp) -(4.15/5) ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
IFA Tuesday Book Club Book Review by Virginia Manhard-Lubin
The large majority of our book club members appreciated Small Mercies, the recalcitrant few having been put off by the violent and crude dialogue. But even the latter had to acknowledge that this lent authenticity to the underprivileged, Irish mafia-controlled Boston neighborhood where the story was set. Furthermore, despite everything, we were unanimously sympathetic with Lehane’s protagonist – Mary Pat – poor working mother, alone after two failed marriages, who stops at nothing to avenge her daughter’s murder in the context of the racial antagonism sparked by Boston’s school bussing laws in 1974. The books is a thriller, a page-turner and a thoughtful exploration of the social drama sparked by the judicial efforts to enforce school desegregation in the mid-70’s.