|Photo courtesy of: samuiblue, Free Digital Photos|
The Reunion: A Novel by Dan Walsh is a beautiful book, very well written, and full of heart.
Aaron Miller, a Vietnam vet, is caretaker of Bentley’s Trailer Park and Campground. He gets around on a golf cart, fills people’s propane tanks, and helps out any way he can. His home—if you can call it that—is a garage with sparse furniture.
Heather and her boyfriend live in the trailer on Lot 31. They fight often and loudly. One day, Aaron finds Heather with her eye swollen shut. Last week, she had a red mark on her face. Aaron helps her get ice on her eye, asks a few questions, and he promises not to let her boyfriend hurt her again. He told his boss lady and moved on to the next job.
He needs to repair the access ramp for Billy, another Vietnam vet, who lost both legs in the War. Aaron got Billy to come to the door and chatted for a while with him, getting to work on the ramp. What Aaron didn’t know was that Billy had the gun loaded and was planning to kill himself that day.
Karen is on a “blind date” with a man who’s handsome and knows it. This isn’t going to work, partially because her date keeps reminding Karen that she’s older than he is. Karen can hardly wait until this one is over. Karen is a real estate agent. She’s smart, beautiful, and single.
Dave is a newspaper journalist who’s writing a book about Vietnam heroes, in honor of his father, who died in the War. He’s a widower and has one son in high school, Jake. On a routine assignment, Dave has the opportunity to do some work for his book. He’s going to Houston, where he’ll be able to interview a prominent veteran.
When Dave interviews John Lansing, he learns of the brave man who saved his life along with two others. Then, Dave begins the search to find him—a real Vietnam hero.
I don’t want to spoil it for you, but the interwoven lives—there are more—and the way the author brings them together make The Reunion the best title. You will laugh, cry, empathize, and you’ll find a slice of your own life somewhere in this lovely tale. As an additional plus, you’ll end up with a renewed appreciation of those who fought and died in Vietnam.
Easily five stars.