Aaron Kantro knows that he's an artist. He's felt this since he was a child.. His mother, Esther, is horrified. Artists are unsavory, not respectable. The Kantro family convulses around Esther's cruelty, At sixteen Aaron sets off on a pilgrimage to New York City, the Mecca of Jazz.. Two of the Kantro children are monsters, and two are full of empathy and creativity. Before Aaron can succeed he will need to confront his own demons in the middle of a battlefield crisis. Aaron's transformation comes as he is caught up in the Soviet- Afghan War.
Plot: There’s an overabundance of plot stuffed into this intriguing story of how a mother’s mental illness impacted the lives of her children. The main thread involves Aaron, who becomes a talented jazz musician and drug addict. A effective secondary thread follows his sister’s emotional breakdown. However, two additional subplots about their siblings, Mark and Marilee, add nothing but melodrama.
Prose: Rosch’s vivid prose is descriptive and often devastating—particularly scenes of Esther Kantro’s cruelty and Aaron’s time in Afghanistan.
Originality: Aaron’s story is unique, and his flirtation as a Jew with Nazism—to gain the friendship of a popular boy—was out-and-out bizarre, but it works and stands out as fresh.
Character Development: Aaron was the most fully developed character, while Sarah is also well rendered. Siblings Mark and Marilee are a little one-note and unlikable, while their father, Max, is almost always reactive rather than active.
Date Submitted: March 03, 2017
This book follows Aaron Kantro and his family from the depths of childhood abuse to the clear hindsight of adulthood. The compellingly addictive story takes Aaron and his siblings through the depths of hell to even darker places and along the way they learn just what they are truly capable of.
It is a powerful story written by an author able to capture the emotional honesty of his protagonists. I wanted to hate the monsters, but understanding why they were the way they were, simply made me pity them and want to weep for the children who would bear the scars for their inability to with evil. Told as chronology, it was easy to stay connected to the individual characters. As each new date showed at the beginning of the chapter, I would hope that Sarah was finally chasing down her demons; That Aaron would find a way to listen to his inner angel; Cringe at what Mark and Mari-lee would be about to do next. My heart broke for Max, a product of his age, thrown into a seething chaos that no human being should have to endure.
The story is character driven and the characters are not short on story. Each person who glances through the various lives of the Kantro family probably could have supported an entire novel just on their back-stories alone. I laughed and I wanted to cry. Somehow the human spirit with its need to create beauty will try to find a way to survive but not all those who have travel in darkness will manage to find the light.
This is a brilliant story with multiple layers. It makes me want to explore other books by Arthur Rosch. This was definitely worth the price of the download.
Confessions of an Honest Man by Art Rosch brings the reader a story of conflict, abuse of all sorts, family dysfunction and eventual triumph over all obstacles. This novel is skillfully written to give insight into dark places of life without overwhelming the reader. The protagonist Aaron Kantro carries an awesome burden on his shoulders from first page to last. As we follow his story and his commitment to his musical calling, we are given glimpses of others who are part of Aaron’s life. The story spans several decades from Aaron’s boyhood to his becoming a parent.
A highly dysfunctional family sets the tone for all Aaron’s woes. An abusive mother who suffers mental illness takes a toll on the lives of her children and spouse. As Aaron discovers the call of his muse to music, his mother thwarts his every effort and success. Despite her obstruction, Aaron climbs his way to success in the face of his own and others abuse of drugs. The author gives excellent insight to the effects of parental abuse on the other members of Aaron’s family.
This book is an excellent read if more than a bit dark at times. The ultimate triumph is worth the agonizing stops along the way with Aaron, Zoot and the rest. Rosch has carefully constructed good characterizations, good dialogue, and good descriptive passages. This is likely a book I would not have picked up on my own but I am better for having read it. It is one that I will carry with me for a long time. Confessions of an Honest Man should achieve wide readership and success.