“Failed Moments” by A. Robert Allen
Failed Moments by A. Robert Allen is an emotional ride through the history of Haiti and Civil War era New York City. The main character Patrick Walsh has to grapple with his mortality and questions around the soul. As he navigates through key moments in history charged with racial tension he is guided towards changing his actions in order to improve the outcomes of these events and to help himself in the process. Along the way he learns more about himself and what really matters in life.
Failed Moments combined historical fiction with spirituality and just a dash of mystery. The main character Patrick is incredibly flawed at the beginning, and the reader doesn't every get a good sense of why beyond “people are difficult for him” There is an overwhelming theme of subtlety to the extreme in this book, almost to the point where you feel like an idiot for not understanding what everyone in the books seems to have interpreted from the story. You are left to infer what I think is quite a bit of information but it is nice to read something so well-crafted that doesn't hold your hand through the narrative.
The story is immersive, your emotions are so closely tied to the characters and their challenges that’s it’s a bit of a roller-coaster while you are reading. Patrick as his spiritual others become the heroes of each mini story within the book and collectively remind you what main character Patrick is trying to do and why he is worth saving in the end. Patrick learns a valuable lesson and the satisfaction you feel when he sees the error of his ways is genuine.
I found a few inconsistencies however. In the beginning when Patrick is told the truth of the soul, he is at unwilling to believe in that or in the fact that his lifestyle was flawed, he is understandably confused and scared at what is happening to him. But then almost seconds later has not only accepted it but is eager to learn what he needs to do to be successful. His character changes too drastically early on for my liking, but it does make more sense as you see his transformation through the novel.
I did love this book, the story was amazingly original and the connection you make with the characters are heartfelt and genuine. It has a great ending that ties the story up nicely and leaves you fully satisfied.