Sins of the Father

Sins of the Father
by Anthony Vicino

Rating: 3/5

I just finished reading this and am pretty confused. In fact, I was confused throughout the whole thing, so I reread bits and pieces once I was done.
It was quite a ride and will mess with your brain, that’s for sure. But when I first started reading, I noticed that our narrator was talking to this guy who he called Reynolds, which I imagine is his last name, but he also called him Wilson and then Harri, so not sure what is up with that.

And then as I read on, I kept running figures in my mind trying to figure out people’s age and it didn’t add up.

If Ricky is reported to be stuck in an 8 year old mind even though 43 years have passed, how can Paxton, who is reportedly his father, be approximately the same age? Or how could Lara want to get Ricky a smartphone back then? It made me suspect the ending, but I was still pretty confused because it was Ricky this and Ricky that; the doctor was doing his best to fix Ricky, Reynolds took care of Ricky for 10 years, etc etc and I just didn’t get it. I can understand addressing him as Ricky since he doesn’t know any better, but I felt that when talking with each other they should have used more generic terms like the patient, for instance, therefore not saying he is or isn’t Ricky, letting the reader figure that out by him or herself as the story advances.

When we arrive at the plot twist, I didn’t feel much closure. If Paxton had imagined the car accident as a consequence of finding out his wife cheated on him, and we find out that his sons were in the van all along, then what does that mean? Did she not cheat on him? Did he imagine the whole scene in prison?

Also, what caused Paxton to black out repeatedly even before this whole thing happened and have his brain all jumbled like that? It was mentioned his father beat him but not the extent of it, so not sure if that’s where the sins of one’s father comes into place. If it is because of everything it happened, I don’t really see it as a sin, not like it was the guy’s fault, he obviously has a mental illness.

Anywaaay… Quite confused but it was still quite a ride. I was gripped emotionally and psychologically, and truly felt for the characters. I just wish it could have been done in a different manner, so that I would have felt a clearer closure at the end. But I think it is one of those stories that everyone experiences very differently, and so I still recommend it.

Oh and chapters 9 to 11 are blank.

Read on March 22, 2015
GR Review

Disclaimer: I would like to thank the author for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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2 thoughts on “Sins of the Father

  1. Ana! Sorry it took so long to respond, I’ve been on the vacation from hell! But here we are. First, thanks so much for the honest review. I know how difficult it can be to write a well-balanced review when the story doesn’t quite work for you. With that said, you asked me to respond to some of your critiques and shed some light onto my thought process, so here I am!

    First, the Harri/Reynolds/Wilson issue you stumbled on was pure and simple a mistake on my part. Reynold’s name was originally Harri (which as it turned out was a character name I ended up using for Parallel instead). Interestingly enough this was a mistake I’d fixed (or thought I’d fixed) right after the story was published on Amazon. What I’ve since noticed (after you also mentioned three blank chapters) is that Amazon somehow reverted to that previous file rather than keeping the new one. I have no clue why they’ve done that, but I’ve been working with them to get the correct file in place. Also peculiar is the fact that on my kindle version of the story, I have the new/updated edition, so I’m not sure if some people are just getting the wrong file or what. Great mysteries of the universe!

    Either way I’m very sorry you encountered that as the reader which I know can be cumbersome and take you right out of the story. Never a good thing.

    As for the age question of Ricky, I’m intentionally vague about setting a time period for the story. Though I will admit that Ricky, when he is 8, would be our present day. Therefore the therapy he undergoes with the Doctor would take place roughly forty years from now.

    In referring to Ricky by his name, or by some other nondescript term like patient, I had to make a choice and think about Reynolds (Ricky’s caretaker for nearly a decade) and how he would interact with this person. It seemed unlikely, and coldly clinical, for Reynolds to refer to Ricky as ‘the patient’ and figured he would probably just call him by the name he thought himself to be aka Ricky.

    The car accident represents a physical break in Paxton’s cognitive timeline. Everything before that moment is considered to be trustworthy, so Lara’s affair and the prison scene are all real. The accident, and the resulting death of his son, cause a schism in Paxton as he struggles to cope with the reality of what he’s done. Being unable to process the death of his son and wife, his mind fractures and creates an alternative reality/narrative whereby he believes Ricky is in fact still alive. He does this by assuming the role of Ricky in his own mind which is a play off the cognitive disorder “Dissociative Identity”.

    This is never explicitly stated in the story, but there is a hereditary component to certain mental disorders. In the story we learn Paxton’s mother is Bipolar which has a genetic component and is linked at times with Dissociative Identity. The idea is that Paxton was already susceptible to this sort of traumatic schism of self at the genetic level. With the correct sequence of events, the disorder eventually manifested.

    The black out/time loss is a function of Paxton coping with the reality of Lara’s possible affair. This lays the groundwork for the possibility that Paxton has been dealing with a dissociative identity for a long time, a thing that would only manifest itself in particular situations. I leave all this intentionally vague so that the reader can fill in their own gaps, and reach their own conclusions, but with a story like Sins of the Father, those conclusions aren’t always very clear. Which was an intentional stylist choice on my part, but admittedly it can be confusing.

    Sins of the Father is merely a reference to Paxton being the murderer of both his mother, wife, and ultimately (though unintentionally) his son.

    Anyways, I think I just wrote another short story worth of explanations. Hopefully they are somewhat helpful in sharing my perspective and thought processes behind the story!

    Thanks as always for the review and the opportunity to have a conversation about the work!

    Anthony

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Anthony, and thank you so much for your post! Yes, I would definitely love it if others would join in the discussion.

      I don’t quite remember much of the story by this point, but I know I found the accident in particular quite confusing. So if the cheating was real, and Lara picking him up from jail was real, then the children witnessed the whole thing? Maybe even discussions about the affair? Hard to tell with Paxton’s blackouts and my own, eh.

      And what about the smartphone thing?

      I am absolutely sure that other folks will enjoy this a lot more than me (even though I did enjoy it for the most part), especially if they are keen on storylines which are open to different interpretations. I however prefer to read a narrative where little clues are lain around and then it all comes together very clearly in the end. So even if Reynolds referred to him as Ricky, the doctor knew he wasn’t, so I would have liked him to not call him that, as I found it deceptive.

      Anyway, to each their own, it is still a brilliantly written story, as all of your other work, be it books or reviews and I really appreciate the time you took to write this :)

      Oh and I hope you get to have a vacation from that vacation!

      Like

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