Libros International is pleased to announce the release of Kate Genovese’s book Two Weeks Since My Last Confession, a saga featuring the O’Brien family from Boston, Massachusetts.
On the face of things, the O’Briens are an upstanding pillar of the community. John O’Brien is a politician, a senator no less, and a respected and long term incumbent to boot. Marie, Mrs. O’Brien, is a devout Catholic with five children. She is determined that they should be raised in such a way that ensures they develop values and respect rules. She fails.
The story centres on two O’Brien siblings and sets their stories in parallel, spanning three decades. Molly and Sean are separated by several years, Molly the more obviously impetuous of the two, Sean the less predictable. Things at home turn very sour Molly claims she is sexually abused by her brother. She complains to her mother, who blames her daughter for raising such ideas in the hothouse of her over-active imagination. She tells her father, who seems to be equally dismissive, being always more interested in the preservation of his own privilege and public face. It is only a long time later that she learns her father did, indeed, speak to Sean. They are words that the boy resents, for he has no recollection of having done anything.
Essentially, Two Weeks Since My Last Confession deals with the consequences of these reactions which, at the time, were generated for merely rational reasons, their intended consequences designed to heal rather than harm.
On the surface a devout Roman Catholic nuclear group, the O’Briens are shot through with tension, hypocrisy, deceit and, indeed, corruption. They are perhaps a fairly standard family beneath the sheen of respect. When the lad misbehaves, his senator father pulls strings to protect him. The senator, himself, is a rampant womanizer and two timer, his clearly unhappy wife thus trapped in a marriage her religion would never contemplate ending. Sean’s life develops before, during and after his tour of duty in Vietnam, but the experience of war changes him. As he matures, he begins to understand the origin of the psychological demons that have haunted him since childhood.
But it is Molly, more formally Maureen Bridget whenever her mother scolds her, who provides the centrepiece of the story. Her life deteriorates and affects all around her.
In Bobby Angelo, she finds a perfect boyfriend at an age when she is too young to convince others her feelings are sincere. She develops an early, rich, sexual relationship with Bobby, a likeable boy of Italian descent. He is convinced he is destined for stardom as a baseball player and somehow it just doesn’t work out with Molly.
In fact, it actually worked out a little too well with Molly, but he is ignorant of this when he goes off to college. Molly thus cannot go to college herself and she takes up a career in health care. She has already smoked dope, Her professional activities facilitate her access to drugs and she begins to try something different, and then a little more, and a little more still. And so she drifts into a destitution of addiction, but she lives an apparently normal life for many years.
The book describes the history of the whole family, however, in order to fill out details of the two principal characters’ lives. There are marriages and births, divorces, more births, domestic abuse, success, wealth, failure. There are breakdowns, rehab centres, a Vietnam War and pop culture. And so the characters inhabit a confused two decades to emerge older, wiser perhaps, more stable perhaps.
Ultimately, the book is an examination of abuse and its consequences, both direct and incidental. The childhood traumas that centred on Molly and Sean resurface, demand attention, reassert their control of lives. They have been denied. They will not go away. And ultimately the book has a message of hope, as the skeletons in the cupboard are eventually and positively buried.
Life can be a messy process, with events confused, subconsciously rejected or unacknowledged. Mistakes are truly easy to make, but unpicking their consequences can be an intricate, delicate and lengthy task.
Kate Genovese has written two other published books, Thirty years in September, A Nurses Memoir and Loving Joe Gallucci; Love and Life with Hepatitis C. She is a member of the National Writer’s Union and a registered nurse in the Boston, Massachusetts area.