Ask Again, Yes | Mary Beth Keane

One sentence: 

A fantastic generational family drama that might end up being one of my favorite books of the year.

Three thoughts:

  • I love these characters. Keane does a great job of thoroughly fleshing out all the characters and giving them depth without losing anything due to the number of “main” characters.
  • I accidentally checked this out as an “Express Read,” meaning I only had it for seven days. Oh, the pressure! (It was so good that I was able to return it two days early.)
  • Lots and lots of family stuff here. It made me spend a lot of time thinking about my life as a daughter and a sister, as well as my role as a wife and my future role as a mother.


  • Characters: 5/5. I loved these characters. Frank especially; he was just a genuinely good guy. As we learned more about Anne, I began to really appreciate her as well. The third person omniscient narrator meant that we got the entire story from all the characters, and I really like that. Peter and Kate were really great together. Oh, and George… good old 38 year old George. What an amazing guy.
  • Plot: 5/5. The twists weren’t really “twists” in that you could totally see them coming, but for the characters they were twists. That thing about “what tangled webs we weave”… there were definitely some tangled webs here and it was flawless.
  • Setting: 5/5. I’ve come to realize that modern writers don’t really manipulate the setting the way some more classic authors do, and that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Here, Keane did a great job of using the setting in a supporting role and it worked perfectly.
  • Style/Voice: 5/5. One of the things I loved about this book were what I think of as “montage scenes.” In other words, if this had been a movie, from time to time there would be scenes that are essentially montages that show the passage of time. There was a lot of that in this book, and those scenes give the reader a break from the omniscient narration, and sort of take a step back from the story. Those scenes had a bit of a dreamy quality that I loved. 
  • Theme: 5/5. This book was heavy; it focuses on family, friendship, and love. It focuses on childhood; are our childhood friendships really a strong foundation for a relationship, or are they just memories of more innocent times? I loved exploring the idea of forgiveness; how do you decide at what point a person has sufficiently been punished before you forgive them? Do circumstantial factors change this? So much to think about.

Overall Rating: 5/5

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