Setting Free the Kites

Setting Free the Kites

by Alex George

Overview: For Robert Carter, life in his coastal Maine hometown is comfortably predictable. But in 1976, on his first day of eighth grade, he meets Nathan Tilly, who changes everything. Nathan is confident, fearless, impetuous—and fascinated by kites and flying. Robert and Nathan’s budding friendship is forged in the crucible of two family tragedies, and as the boys struggle to come to terms with loss, they take summer jobs at the local rundown amusement park. It’s there that Nathan’s boundless capacity for optimism threatens to overwhelm them both, and where they learn some harsh truths about family, desire, and revenge.

Unforgettable and heart-breaking, Setting Free the Kites is a poignant and moving exploration of the pain, joy, and glories of young friendship.

Alisa Zecker (07/15/18): I just joined a book club for the first time and Setting Free The Kites was chosen. This is not the “type” of book I would personally read. I found it beautifully written but not capturing my interest for the 1st third of the book. I stayed with it because I’m going Monday night & had to finish it. I’m so glad I did! I found the author really delved deep into the human spirit, especially when it comes to personal loss, grieving & lost possibilities. Alex George’s characters, like all families, in all towns, experienced many personal tragedies through sickness, accidents, servicing our country in war, bullying and depression. The impact these multiple tragedies have, have a spiraling effect on so many relationships & inter-relationships. Like other reviews, I too found this extremely uplifting & how the possibility of hope can be remarkably powerful. One of my new favorite quotes by Alex George is: “Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, Love leaves a memory no one can steal.
Rating: *****

Debbie Weiss (04/26/18): This lovely book reminded me a lot of Ordinary Grace by William Kent Kreuger. Both stories are coming of age tales, beautifully written with delightful characters that you cannot help but love and care for. The main character, Robert, meets Nathan at school and they quickly become best friends. Together they have fun experiences, but share intense personal losses over the next few years. Our heart aches for both of them and we wish that we could ameliorate the emotional pain that they have to deal with. While this sounds like this is a depressing story, it actually is very uplifting...the ability of the human spirit to rebound from all adversity. I highly recommend this book.
Rating: *****

Faith Bowers (04/09/18): Elaine Martin the original reviewer is a very good writer and I agree with her about this novel. I think it is a well written novel and starts off with a few punches, no pun intend and you keep reading until you finish. The novel is about surviving loss and grief. Everyone important in the novel grieves all differently which is one of the themes. The other is learning to live with muscular dystrophy in your family and the time which was in the 1970s. I will now read his first novel: A Good American.
Rating: ****

Elaine Marlin (03/18/18): This is a well written story about a young teenage boy, Robert, who lives in a small Maine town, in the year 1976. His father, and before that, his grandfather, owns a tacky amusement park that does draw vacationers to the small coastal town in which he lives. Many if not most of the teenagers, are employed at this amusement park.

This story mostly centers upon his new friendship with a boy his age , Nathan, who moves into a house far from town, next to the ocean. They become best friends. Robert has an older brother Liam, who has muscular dystrophy. There are great character developments of his friend, and his brother Liam. They have all kinds of adventures. Nathan is a daredevil, while Robert is timid. Liam loves loud dissonant rock music. Robert is practically invisible, as his parents navigate his older brother's degenerative disease. He is not angry, and he loves his brother.

There is the typical town bully, who I won't even name, so as not to give him importance! There is a crusty lifelong employee who repairs all things mechanical related to the rides! He has an interesting relevance in the novel, and is well described. There are a few right in your face tragedies, well written, and this books kept me reading. This author knows how to describe events, and weather, and emotions! I will now read his first novel: A Good American.
Rating: *****

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