Restless Souls by Dan Sheehan

I haven’t seen Tom in three and a half years.

– Opening sentence

I was super-excited when this beautiful looking proof was posted through my letter box (thanks Jennifer!).

The cover art depicts Restless Souls as 1/3 comedy, 1/3 road trip and 1/3 tragedy. However I must have got the wrong copy, because the majority of what I read was full-on tragedy.

Part one had me choking back tears, as it covers some pretty heavy stuff that the majority of media publishers like to pretend don’t exist; modern poverty, male suicide and mental illness through trauma. However,  instead of shying away from these taboo subjects, author Sheehan casts a light on them, using clever humour to soften the blow and place them in a more natural, relatable setting.

And that’s where the comedy comes in, and why it’s so important. I wouldn’t say this book has moments of laugh-out-loud comedy, but it does have some funny interactions between the main characters, which are relatable to those of us who use humour as a way to combat awkwardness around serious topics.

Karl, Baz and Tom have been friends since their childhood in the ’80s. Growing up in Dublin, these boys experienced their fair share of hardships, but remained close friends into their adulthood.

But, as we all know, life has a twisted way of dealing trauma, death and darkness to us all – even if we think we’ve already had more than our fair share. When the worst happens, Karl and Baz are left to grieve on their own, as Tom is overseas reporting on war-torn Sarajevo.

But when Tom returns nearly four years later, both physically and mentally scarred from a traumatic siege that was responsible for hundreds of needless, gruesome deaths, Karl and Baz are confronted with fresh feelings of loss, regret and guilt.

Restless Souls follows their journey from Dublin to California in search for a way to save a man who has lost everything in war. During this trip Karl, Baz and Tom are faced with their darkest thoughts, and made to confront them.

This book had me gripped from the very first page, as I experienced their pain and shared their journey to recovery. Sheehan writes in an effortless way that allows the reader to be captivated fully, and doesn’t let you go until the very end.

The core of the book is much deeper than what’s presented on the surface, and that’s what makes it so special.

Restless Souls is a book to be read and treasured by all, and to serve as a reminder to look after your loved ones, and to look after yourself.

5 Stars (5 / 5)

It was enough.

– Final sentence

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