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The Big Finish


The Big Finish

Duffy Sinclair is a jokester curmudgeon who is focused on staying at Centennial, a premier assisted living facility. His daily activities include teasing Chef Anderson about his lack of random old history and daydreaming about Alice, another wonderful resident of Centennial. He spends his days with Carl Upton, his closest friend and the yin to his yang. His biggest fear is being sent away to the roach-infested nursing home down the road.

When a young Josie climbs into the window of Centennial, claiming to be Carl’s granddaughter, Duffy is flabbergasted. Nursing a black eye supposedly acquired by a kitchen cabinet, the attractive girl begs for their help and shelter. Risking expulsion from Centennial, Duffy reluctantly agrees, for the sake of his dear friend. As Josie wins over the rest of the facility, problems from her past are uncovered. Realizing that they share more in common than at first glance, Duffy sets out on a personal crusade to help her. Along the way, Centennial is injected with energy to help her cause.

"THE BIG FINISH made me cry. Twice.... Overall, this is a wonderful novel, sure to melt even the coldest of hearts."

I love how unique the plot and setting are. Rarely does an author focus on the elderly and make it fraught with hope and adventure. In fact, the only adventure story with an older protagonist I am familiar with is ​UP. To be quite honest, that was what I was expecting when I first started reading THE BIG FINISH. However, what I got was so much more human and real. The limits of these protagonists are not overstretched --- they definitely do not have the physical capabilities of youth. Brooke Fossey does an absolutely phenomenal job in depicting what it truly means to be old. It is clear that she did extensive research to capture the voice and heart of Duffy and his fellow residents, along with the small details, fears, regrets and activities of the elderly. Reading about death from Duffy’s perspective is so fascinating and eye-opening.

Each and every one of these individuals, from the loud Charles to the spunky Valerie, have bright personalities. Duffy is one of my favorite characters. His friendship with Carl is crazy and youthful. He keeps secrets and takes risks that may come back to hurt him, but he always sticks to what he thinks is right. I enjoyed peeling back the layers of his past and hearing his witty narration.

Another aspect of the book that I especially admired is the foreshadowing. Some secrets about the characters are hinted at, and Fossey has mastered the art of dramatic irony in a number of scenes. Situations arise that have a reasonable explanation, though at first glance onlookers may jump to conclusions. These funny scenes add a brevity that complement the positive tone throughout.

THE BIG FINISH made me cry. Twice. This poignant story reinforces the reality that old people are still full of life and vigor, even if they are in an assisted living facility. They are human. They aren’t old dogs and can learn new tricks. Though they may not be strong in body, they are resolute in their beliefs and values.

Overall, this is a wonderful novel, sure to melt even the coldest of hearts. THE BIG FINISH is just the beginning of Fossey’s writing career, and I sincerely cannot wait to see what new stories she has in store for us.

Reviewed by Alison Lee on April 24, 2020

The Big Finish
by Brooke Fossey

  • Publication Date: March 23, 2021
  • Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley
  • ISBN-10: 1984804944
  • ISBN-13: 9781984804945