A Lifetime by Morris Fenris

Summary from Amazon

“A Lifetime” is the story of a struggle. Of one man born into nothing and who fights to make his way through life, to leave the place of his birth – a place of suffering and strife – and to create a new life elsewhere. To find himself a wife, to start a family and to achieve the things he thought unachievable. 

It is a story of success, loss, delight and grief; a story of what it means to have everything and what it feels like to have nothing. It is also a story of the very special bond between a father and his daughter. 

From the synopsis of this novella, I was anticipating that it would somehow be a rags to riches story or an underdog story of sorts. Well, at least, that the majority of the pages would explores the hardships the character went through in the plantation, and the experience of stowing away on a cargo ship, and how he was able to work his way up the corporate ladder. Yes, those things are mentioned, but only as an introduction. It is still very much a story of a man's journey though just not the kind I thought it would be. 

The novella starts with a brief back story of our protagonist. Where he came from, who his parents were, how his formative years were in a plantation and then out of it...all the way to the present, where he holds a high paying job in an export and import business in the Philippines. Then moving on to a point in his life where he experiences a mid-life crisis of sorts. He has already ticked off "have a great career" on his list. Now he begins to think about being in a romantic relationship and perhaps achieving some work-life balance. This is the point where he meets a girl named Marites, who eventually becomes his wife, and will also soon give him a daughter. Next stop would be his life as a single dad and how he goes about tackling loss and grief while raising a kid and just how he tries to bring love back into his life again. 

I appreciated the story for it's earnestness. I thought the narrator/protagonist comes off as amiable and honest. Also, considering that he is someone who has been through so many difficult experiences, instead of coming across as a detached, bored, fatigued, world weary type, he actually still is fearful, anxious and worrisome about a lot of things. And I admired that vulnerability about him.  So yeah, I think he is an identifiable and relatable character. 

The plot is pretty simple and straight forward. It moves from the various stages or points in the narrator's life starting from when he met his wife. It is about finding love, losing it, and then discovering it again. It reminds me a bit of those Hallmark (now called Diva Universal) movies I find myself watching, especially when the holidays rolls around. In a sense that it is inspirational and love/family-oriented.  Although I would have loved for more complexity in the plot, I get that this isn't the direction that novella is going for. Still I had a pleasant time reading the story. It is easy to get into, sweet, earnest that goes the route of a warm and fuzzy offering. It is a positive story too, which tells me that in life I need to just keep on keeping on. 

A Lifetime by Morris Fenris (Kindle Edition) is now available on Amazon. 

Special Thanks to Morris Fenris for sending me an ARC.   

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