A Laughing Matter of Pain
Harry Rechthart always knew how to laugh, but laughter can hide a lot of pain that’s drowned by the bottle and good times. He grew up the joker in the early 1900s in Cleveland, Ohio, but as he enters adulthood, conflict splits him. His once close relationship with his brother, Erik, breaks as they come into their own and Erik goes off to college. No longer under Erik’s shadow, Harry feels he might finally shine and make others see him as someone to be proud of. Harry finds an unlikely comrade who understands how he feels–his younger sister, Hannah. Once free of high school, Harry and Hannah double date sister and brother, Kat and Will Jones, attending wild, extravagant parties during the years of Prohibition. Harry thinks he’s won at life–he’s found love in Kat, in a good time, and in the bottle. But all the light goes out fast when Harry’s alcoholism leads to disastrous consequences for him and Kat.
Harry thinks the joke’s on him now that he’s sunk lower than ever. He’s in jail. He’s pushed away his family. He’s a broken man, but in the darkest depths of a prison cell, there is hope. Can Harry rebuild his life and learn that true laughter comes from knowing true joy, or will he bury himself once and for all in this laughing matter of pain?
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Laughing-Matter-Pain-Cynthia-Hilston-ebook/dp/B07F75Z5YP/
Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Laughing-Matter-Pain-Cynthia-Hilston-ebook/dp/B07F75Z5YP/
arry always felt like he was living in his brother, Erik’s shadow. Erik was the good son, the responsible one whereas harry was the reckless one, often getting into trouble.. In a way, it felt like harry never grew up. Once his brother leaves for college, Harry begins to come out of his shell a bit, making friends in high school, but the friends he has are the wrong type of friends. They encourage Harry to drink and soon he becomes an alcoholic. But, when a tragedy occurs altering the course of Harry’s life it feels as if nothing will ever be the same again. Will harry be able to get his life back or is he destined for failure everywhere he turns?
The heart of Harry’s story takes place mostly in the 1920’s and 30’s during the time of Prohibition. Told in first person narrative, I really got to experience and feel things through harry’s thoughts and actions. I was able to see things through his eyes and what was in his heart. Much like life, Harry’s was messy and complicated. He is flawed and makes mistakes. Even Harry knows he is not perfect. After the night of the tragedy, Harry wishes he could do everything all over again. To be a better son, a better brother, to not be so reckless and to stop drinking. Harry is very much a complicated character with many layers to him. As you peel back the layers, you see Harry for what he is and the potential that he has if he doesn’t screw it up.
While reading through Harry’s story I found him to be such a relatable character especially growing up with two alcoholics in my family. It is a terrible disease. It is a struggle to stay sober, to not want just one drink or one sip of alcohol. It is an addiction that is so hard to kick and even if someone does kick the habit it is so easy to fall back into drinking again. It is a struggle for many many people. It is really sad to see someone go through this and I felt myself being able to sympathize with Harry with the struggles he went through in his sobriety. I cheered Harry on through his ups and downs hoping for him to realize the potential he has and in a way preying he can be the man he was destined to become.
The setting of this story really made me feel as if I was transported back in time to the 1920’s and 30’s. Cynthia Hilston really embraces that time period in both mannerism and speech. The historical accuracy during that time period felt so genuine and so real. Just the way some of the characters spoke reminded me of some of those old black and white movies my grandmother used to make me watch. It was such a different time back then. I can remember my grandmother using some of the same terminology as this was her time period as well. I am really glad this story takes place during this time period as I have always been fascinated with the early 20th century.
A Laughing Matter of Pain is a poignant and evocative story that will pull every emotion out of you. The story is raw and unfiltered. Hilston delves heavily into personal pain, alcoholism, family, and even redemption. It is highly emotional and riveting the deeper you get the more you feel connected to every part of the story.
A Laughing Matter of Pain is definitely one of those books that will stay with you for years to come. I have to say that Epilogue had me in tears and really made me cry. Here is another book that has moved to the top as one of my favorite books for 2018.
Author Bio –
Cynthia Hilston is a thirty-something-year-old stay at home mom of three young kids, happily married. Writing has always been like another child to her. After twenty years of waltzing in the world of fan fiction, she finally stepped away to do her debut dance with original works of fiction. Hannah’s Rainbow: Every Color Beautiful is her first original novel. She’s currently working on more books. Visit her website for more information.
In her spare time – what spare time? – she devours books, watches Doctor Who and Game of Thrones, pets her orange kitty, looks at the stars, and dreams of what other stories she wishes to tell.
Social Media Links – http://www.cynthiahilston.com