Review: We Three Kings by A.F. Henley

Chicago 1982 is a goldmine for the construction industry, and Eric and his two business partners are thriving. Once nothing more than orphans in a Catholic boys' home, they've overcome poverty and abuse to obtain success. Now living the lives they once only dreamed of, they're sure of one thing: they will never look back.

Then the past returns, by way of a cheap polyester suit and a smile Eric has never forgotten—and all the dark memories come crashing back. Lucky for him, Jimmy has no idea who Eric is, or who Eric used to be…

"How dare I feel a measure of comfort over somebody else's distress? What kind of person did that make me?
A survivor. It made me a survivor."

Every now and then a book comes along that makes a person stop and think about perspective. It is quite easy to understand the victim's perspective, but it is often harder to look at a bully's point of view, to see the world through their eyes. In We Three Kings we flip between the 80's (when the book is set) and, via the memories of Eric, the past he's come to regret. 

This is my first book by this author and I am looking forward to reading more by them. It is a book that make me think while I read, think about the ripple effect of hate and bullying. When does it stop? How does someone fighting for their own survival, fighting not to become a victim, resist being the bully themselves? not for the sake of being a bully, but for the sake of their own sanity, their own survival. Especially when they are children trying to survive the bullying of adults.Sometimes it is not as black and white, right and wrong as it may first appear. That is the food for thought I had when reading this book.

I liked the 80's setting of the book and uncovering Eric and his friends past as we read on. I like that we got this story form Eric's POV,  that the bright new shiny world he has created with his friends belies the start they had. It is considered and interesting.

Survival is a human instinct and AF Henley explores the effects of and oppressive childhood on that instinct. I like books that make me think, that make me see the grey. I like books that help me understand others' perspectives and, wrapped in a well written piece of fiction, this book did just that. It is slightly gritty and well worth a read. In my opinion at least.
A copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review.
For more information, see Goodreads.

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