“Shared Emptiness,” by John Brinling shook my heart and my guts. I’ve never read a book quite like this and it is not one I’ll ever forget. From the beginning I found myself passionately engaged in the Carter family - Vince, Frannie, Jeannie and Chris. These were people I could have easily known. They seem familiar and I immediately felt comfortable with all of them. They could be my neighbors or acquaintances but one thing is for sure, they were easy to connect to because Brinling gives the reader some of their most intimate and private thoughts. He’s gifted at this. I love how the author puts me in close contact with each character’s darkest thoughts, worries, concerns and fears. Their vulnerability unravels me into a pool of compassion, understanding and gladness and then at the same time, because of some of the most unexpected, shocking things that happen in the book, I find myself horrified and have a pit in my stomach. But I love it! I can’t stop reading, I must find out what is going to happen to these people. Bringling threaded ongoing suspense throughout the book from the moment I was privileged to get inside the brain of one of my favorite characters, Chris, 24, who was in a coma. The story forces me to face and ponder some of the most mind-boggling, traumatic and cynical things that could happen to a family. I don’t dare tell you how things turn out but you’ll be fraught and tense with wanting to know. I’m not a nail-biter but I very well could have become one. Oh, and be prepared to be on edge of your seat as the story slides you into subjects you might normally want to avoid: faith, violence, rape medical malpractice, gambling, sexuality, euthanasia, marital issues, suicide, depression, lies, scandal and cover-up.
We are grateful to the author, John Brinling, who provided us a digital copy of his book, “Shared Emptiness,” through Smashwords, for us to review on our blog at: www.obsessivecoupondisorder.com