BookSpin Review:

Kept in the Dark
by J. Ronald M. York
St. Broadway Press, LLC
Hardcover


  I wanted to read KEPT IN THE DARK primarily because of the Nashville connection -- I have a nearly insatiable desire to read true stories about cities I've lived in.  The dark subject matter gave me pause as I wasn't sure I wanted to read about sordid family secrets.

 It has to take a lot of something I don't have to share such a "controversial and uncomfortable" secret with the public.  My first question was "Why?"  According to York, "...my hope in sharing this would be that it might help someone in a similar situation."  This is an admirable position, and one I cannot doubt is true.

York's story takes us from his youth in Florida until his adulthood in Nashville.  After his Father's death, he found a box of letters that had been written between his parents during an eight-month* period in the 1950's that resulted in York feeling anger, hurt, confusion, and frustration. I can only imagine the feeling, upon discovering such a family secret, that you can never ask your parents any questions.  All you get is what the letters tell you and what you intuit or learn though them.

I don't like giving too many specific details in these little reviews that I do, so I won't tell you the secret.  If you guess, you'll probably get close, but not exactly spot on.

Kept in the Dark is a quick read, if a little sad.  There are lots of victims (of various types) in the book, but the writer does seem to have a more level head than I would in this situation.  I have to commend him for the courage to tell his story and for the strength to not be angry.

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From the author's website:

The jail was located on the top 9 floors of the Dade County Courthouse in downtown Miami. The young father could look down from the 21st floor, to the street below. His wife and child would come each night, stand on the sidewalk and wave to him. They would flash the car lights to signal they were there and he, in return, would strike a match from his window to let them know he was watching. Although separated by just a few miles, they were only able to see each other each Sunday, for 2 hours, through glass and wire. Writing letters became their way of communicating and 100 letters were exchanged during an 8-week period.
This was a secret my parents, family and a few close friends took to their graves. No one ever told me and I was too young to remember. And yet, a box containing the letters, yellowed newspaper clippings, faded photographs and cards of encouragement from friends was left for me after everyone was gone. 
Although the crime took place more than 60 years ago, it is still as current as today’s headlines. After much thought and reflection, I am ready to share this story. Controversial and uncomfortable, it is still deeply rooted in unwavering love. A horrific mistake was made leaving a family to heal, rebuild their lives and hopefully, forgive.

*This review has been edited to reflect that the period of time his parents wrote letters back and forth was 8 months and not 8 years, as previously posted. I regret this error.


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