A Quarter Inch From My Heart,By, Kevin HallBook Review
5 out of 5 stars
A poignant account of the author’s tumultuous, yet endearing encounter with an interesting man that enriched his life, A Quarter Inch From My Heart is a story that goes beyond the surface of human attraction, but explores the deeper emotions, fears, and spirituality of a man seeking true companionship.
Deeply engaging, Hall tells the story with such care and attention to detail that the reader will effortlessly find that they are utterly gripped from the first page to the last.
The story begins with the tragic loss of one of Hall’s closest childhood friends, and gives us an enlightening glimpse into the school-age days and events that shaped him into the position he finds himself in his mid-forties. Facing a question of his sexuality, and the subsequent look at the value of his current friendships, the author struggles with a desire to have someone that loves him unconditionally.
As he does so much for others, on top of his study to obtain his Masters, working, and being an active member of his church, Hall recounts the story of his time with Maurice, a chance encounter during his vacation to New Orleans.
Instantly intrigued by this character, a charming African-American man, with a veiled past, Hall has little warning that this new acquaintance will have such a profound effect on his life, or all that he will learn about himself from this experience.
A chance encounter indeed, and yet Hall once again finds himself reacquainted with his New Orleans friend after Hurricane Katrina ravages the city of their meeting. Miles away, in New York, they meet again.
Surprise, and joy, overcomes Hall when they meet once again, and his quick decision to let Maurice stay with him sets off a chain of events that will keep the reader in suspense. Times of joy, sorrow, fear, and anger seem to dominate their relationship. Hall essentially welcomes stranger into his home and has to suffer the consequences, which are both draining and rewarding at various times.
“I was beginning to wonder when the caregiving would end for me, and what kind of stress all of this was having on my own health. Plus, a few dollars here, a few dollars there- it was all adding up to growing debt for me. Was I pulling him up or was he pulling me down?” Hall asks himself this question after more than a year of dealing with the constant turmoil Maurice has introduced to his life.
What does this stranger- now friend and companion really have in his past? What demons does he continue to fight, and sometimes lose against? What can Maurice teach Hall that he never expected?
These questions are answered after several ups and downs between the two men, in ways that will both warm and tug on the reader’s heart. Hall’s patience, generous nature, and trust are tested in ways he never anticipated after their first meeting.
The story is weaved expertly, with carefully placed flash backs, and foreshadowing that when combined with the ever frustrating and powerful story of a man’s quest to find love, do God’s will, truly explore and discover himself, and ultimately deal with one of the biggest challenges that one could imagine.
When a near stranger contacts the author in New York City after Hurricane Katrina, Hall decides to invite him in as a roommate until he "gets back on his feet." That never happens, and over two and a half years, as the relationship deepens, the questions about the new friend's past only grow in number. The author battles between compassion and tough love, between trust and suspicion. Through all of this, Hall also examines his own past and the difficulties he overcame that gave him strength. This memoir invites us to ask: Having experienced an almost fatal wounding of our hearts, can we still open our hearts to allow in the love that heals? Can we find hope that transcends the tragedies of our lives? This memoir invites us to ask: Having experienced an almost fatal wounding of our hearts, can we still open our hearts to allow in the love that heals? Can we find hope that transcends the tragedies of our lives?