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Shared Emptiness

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
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  • Posted May 31, 2011

    Catholicism vs. Euthanasia: No One Wins

    In a world of long lived Catholicism the choices are never easy. When the oldest son, the "Golden Boy" is terribly injured no one knows where to turn except the Church. The Church, as often happens; falls short. By a mile or two.
    In Shared Emptiness, author John Brinling shows us both sides of the coin. The daughter, outshone on every level by her older brother, who clings to Mass as a life jacket. Mom who has grown up in the Church and feels herself damned for thinking of killing her only son. Dad who isn't as strict on going to Mass (even if right across the street) but loves to play the horses and loves his family even if he does a piss-poor job of showing it. Then the aunts and uncles and cousins weigh in and they are as torn as the Carters. They have their own issues of pregnancies, dead children, unloved spouses and are getting no answers there, either.
    Chris Carter somehow kept this whole group connected. He wasn't a staunch Catholic, either' but his grins and personality tied them all up in a nice, neat bow and delivered them to each other. When Chris is hurt and ultimately survives in a vegetative state; everyone at one time or another thinks of pulling his plug. Can one of them actually do it and face retribution from God? Can his agnostic fiancé get up the nerve to free herself from a lifetime of servitude?
    This book brings to light many levels of compulsion from the Church, each other and our parents. Brinling has written a special novel and I do encourage all of you to read it. It's a large story, but it needs to be to explain our needs and wants through the Carter family and its satellite characters.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 23, 2012

    I¿m not quite sure what I expected from this book, but I got muc

    I’m not quite sure what I expected from this book, but I got much more
    than I anticipated. The closer I got to the final chapter, the more I
    wanted the story not to end, because I got so wrapped up in the lives of
    the many different characters, their world became very real to me. This
    is one of those stories which takes the reader through every emotion
    conceivable. It even had me questioning some of my own views and
    opinions – not only on the matter of euthanasia, but also other topics
    that are touched on throughout the book, such as abortion, suicide, and
    extra-marital affairs, to name a few. One thing is certain though: other
    than “The Help” by author Kathryn Stockett, I’ve never before read a
    book that moved me as deeply as this one did. I admire the way in which
    the author skillfully uses emotion and logic to emphatically tackle the
    controversial topic of euthanasia, and how deftly he provides insight
    into both sides of the argument for and against mercy death. The reader
    gets the perspective of the family, the Catholic Church, and the medical
    profession; each with conflicting views on a widely debated subject that
    not only is of consequence to the victim, but also to loved ones. In no
    way did the author favor one view over the other and I was often left
    questioning my own views on this issue and feeling undecided as to what
    I would do if I was in the same situation and had to make such
    impossible decisions. Would I want to “live” in a vegetative comatose
    state for as long as my body held out, or would I want – for their sake
    and mine – my loved ones to pull the plug on the machine keeping me
    alive? If it is someone I love, would I let him “live” or would I be
    showing kindness by pushing the respirator’s “off” button? The answer
    seems simple, doesn’t it? But after reading this book and seeing it
    through the eyes of a mother, father, sister, girlfriend and other
    extended family members, doctors who’ve sworn an oath to let live, and a
    Church unfaltering in its dogma, the answer no longer seems so
    straightforward. I applaud the author for the manner in which he
    brought both main and secondary characters to life by giving each their
    own back-story and having all of them facing unbridgeable obstacles, as
    well as their own personal demons. The families portrayed in this novel
    are dysfunctional in every sense of the word. I easily identified with
    their fears and daily struggles, and once I was halfway through the
    book, most of them had already crept snugly into my heart. Written
    with emotional insight and compassion, it is clear that the author did
    in-depth research so as to be able to make the reader feel every
    emotion, as well as the hopelessness and uncertainty each character
    experienced. Although I’m giving this superb book a five star rating for
    a moving plot that oftentimes left me shaken and teary-eyed, it’s still
    in need of some editing. “Shared Emptiness” is a page-turner that will
    have a different reflective effect on every reader, leaving you with a
    multi-layered story and imperfect characters that won’t soon be forgotten.

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  • Posted June 6, 2011

    Read and enjoy - thoroughly!!

    A family that seems to have one thing in common - their son seems to be the backbone of the family, keeping peace and balance, he knows when to joke around, when to be serious, until an unexpected tragedy happens. They must face a horrid reality and accept the cards that have been dealt, however the one person they need answers from can no longer help them.
    Each member of the family, along with a few friends and even the church, must now face facts, make decisions that may change their lives even more than it has already been changed.
    They all have trouble coping, all have trouble dealing with right from wrong.
    their lives are upside down, never to be the same again.
    The author brings you into the book, makes you a real part of it, so much to the point that you become a part of the story. You feel for each person as you find out their secrets.
    Each person has their own problems as well, making their choices even more difficult.
    A great read, a fantastic twist of an ending, one that no one would expect, but when that makes you feel good when you are done. I put my kindle down on my lap after reading the last page, put my hand on it and said, "Now that was a great story". and I meant it.

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  • Posted June 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Really makes you think

    As the other reviewers have said SHARED EMPTINESS is a very complex story, it covers alot of controversial subject matters that arise for this family and also for their extended family. We get to see that as with any family, there is alot more going on behind closed doors than meets the eye. Along with how this family is dealing with the trauma of what has happened to their son, you also see a perfect example of the butterfly/ripple effect, where one action sets off a chain reaction of events. There is also a twist that I didn't see coming. This story will stay with you long after you have read the last page, and it may make you look at things a little differently than you did prior to reading it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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