The Sleepy Hollow Family Almanac” by Kris D’Agostino
Cal Moretti is in a state of flux, suffering from a form of existentialism that is becoming increasingly common in the over-educated and underemployed millennial generation. While trying to figure life out post-college, the Moretti family is in the midst of a series of crises that only make Cal’s decisions more difficult. His father, a pilot, is stricken with an illness that grounds him indefinitely and his teenage sister is pregnant. Cal struggles to decide which path he’ll choose while his family tries to keep their home and themselves together.
“The Sleepy Hollow Family Almanac”, while centered mostly on around Cal, does not fail to equip secondary characters with dynamic traits and a voice all their own, serving to further enhance the story. D’Agostino debut novel pulls the reader into Cal’s world and presents his problems head-on. His struggle is relatable; I’m sure, to a broad audience. I mean, who hasn’t felt purposeless or had to make hard choices in the face of adversity?
What’s best about Kris D’Agostino’s novel is that Cal is a severely flawed character. His motives were often selfish but there is a level of sympathy his character invokes. “The Sleepy Hollow Family Almanac” is a quick read. D’Agostino favors succinct sentences over flowery prose without sacrificing the details that enrich the story. The narrative cuts from one scene to the next but time remains linear, making it an overall engaging read.
I often found myself disagreeing with much of what Cal was doing but I sort of felt for him. I can’t really fault him for not being self-sacrificing while things fall apart around him. It’s hard to take the high road when your father is spontaneously crying in his bathrobe.
The strong, entertaining characters push the story along and only lend to the refreshingly truthful narrative. It is truly worth the read.