The Rockin’ Chair Book Review

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I was not financially compensated for writing this review. I received a copy of The Rockin’ Chair to facilitate my review. This post may contain an affiliate link. My opinions are 100% honest and 100% mine.


The Rockin’ Chair, by Steven Manchester ($14.95)

Summary of The Rockin’ Chair

Memories are the ultimate contradiction. They can warm us on our coldest days – or they can freeze a loved one out of our lives forever. The McCarthy family has a trove of warm memories. Of innocent first kisses. Of sumptuous family meals. Of wondrous lessons learned at the foot of a rocking chair. But they also have had their share of icy ones. Of words that can never be unsaid. Of choices that can never be unmade. Of actions that can never be undone.

Following the death of his beloved wife, John McCarthy – Grandpa John – calls his family back home. It is time for them to face the memories they have made, both warm and cold. Only then can they move beyond them and into the future.

A rich portrait of a family at a crossroad, The Rockin’ Chair is Steven Manchester’s most heartfelt and emotionally engaging novel to date. If family matters to you, it is a story you must read.

The Rockin' Chair Book Review Steven Manchester

My summary of The Rockin’ Chair

Wow. Now here’s a book that is completely and wholly in my “wheelhouse.” And, boy oh boy, was I not disappointed in The Rockin’ Chair. I had two grandmothers who suffered with Alzheimer’s, so I was so able to relate to the confusion and the struggles that one goes through with a loved one with this condition.

But when each of my grandmothers died, that was it…I didn’t get the opportunity to piece together parts of our family’s lives or get unanswered questions resolved. It just…ended. And when a loved one struggles with Alzheimer’s, you are the one who remembers all the things you want to know, all the questions you want answered, and all the remaining issues/events that still need clarification. And, more often than not, it’s too late. And all those answers and all that information dies with them…trust me, I know how that goes, two times over. It’s heartbreaking and disheartening, and it makes you feel like there’s a portion of you, your past, and your family that you just will never…fully know or understand. It’s a bitter pill to swallow.

But with The Rockin’ Chair — which is written in a style that is so engaging and charming and warm — Steven Manchester weaves together a story that tells compelling and relatable stories, stories about themselves and their family…stories not unlike those we all have. But when a death occurs, hopefully you will be able to gather around your loved ones and reminisce and discuss your past and your feelings — in a healthy and productive way. I know it can go either way, and trust me — you want it to go this way. I have never read a Steven Manchester book before, but if The Rockin’ Chair is any indicator, I’ll be on the lookout for more.

See for yourself…

An excerpt from The Rockin’ Chair:


Elle picked up Evan, Tara and Lila at the airport. As she approached the threesome, she gasped at the sight of her emaciated daughter. For a few moments, Tara’s eyes scanned every inch of her mother’s face before she spread her twig-like arms. Elle hugged her, then pulled away and peered into her sunken eyes. “Are you sick?” she asked.

While Tara shrugged, Elle grabbed Evan for a hug. “I’ll explain it on the way,” he whispered in her ear.

Lila stood there, looking up at her grandmother—curiously.

Elle bent down and smiled at the baby. “Hello, my love,” she whispered, “Grandma’s waited much too long to meet you.” The little girl was a living doll. She had Tara’s strawberry blond curls and the same dark eyes as Alice.

Lila grinned. “Hi, Gramma,” she said, and never flinched when Elle scooped her up and kissed her cheek.

Elle looked back at Tara and could feel her eyes swell with tears.

“Grandma?” Evan asked, grabbing her attention.

Elle shook her head, the tears beginning to cascade down her tired face.

“When?” he asked.

Elle reached for his hand. “Last night…right in Grampa’s lap.”

“In the rockin’ chair?” he asked, his voice cracking.

Elle nodded again.

Evan’s eyes filled. “Where else?” he said.

Elle noticed the confusion in her daughter’s eyes and thought, She’s so out of it.

Before Elle could explain, Evan leaned into Tara’s ear and filled it with the bad news. “We’re one day too late. Grandma passed away last night.”

Though delayed, Tara burst into tears.

As they left the airport terminal, Elle walked alongside Evan. “How did you find her in New York?” she asked in a whisper. “Her cell phone’s been turned off for weeks.” She looked back at her daughter, who was already lagging behind.

“It wasn’t easy,” he said, and shook his head. “Let’s just say…thank God I did.”


About the author of The Rockin’ Chair

The Rockin' Chair Steven Manchester

Steven Manchester is the author of the #1 bestseller Twelve Months, Goodnight, Brian, and several other books. His work has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s The Early Show, CNN’s American Morning and BET’s Nightly News. Recently, three of Manchester’s short stories were selected “101 Best” for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. You can follow Steven Manchester on Facebook or check out Steven Manchester’s blog.

And don’t forget to grab a copy of The Rockin’ Chair on Amazon, at Barnes & Noble, or at Goodreads.

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  1. says

    Such a beautiful review! I have read all of Mr. Manchester’s books, and can honestly say, each one profoundly touched me. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed with TWELVE MONTHS or GOODNIGHT, BRIAN, just like you weren’t with this title. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this book and your love for your grandmothers.

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