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Reviewed by Francine Zane for Readers' Favorite
George Bailey Gets Saved in the End by Ken O’Neill is about a middle-aged man who happens to share a name with the beloved hero of the movie It’s a Wonderful Life. In George’s New York City, timing is everything and this particular holiday season his timing sucks. His wife asks for a divorce on the same day his mother calls to tell him his father has died. From there, his life feels like it is spiraling downhill. Ken O’Neill’s George Bailey Gets Saved in the End is a story about a man who is forced out of his comfort zone, only to find out he isn’t the only one whose life is a rut of half-truths and dependence on others. As his life spirals downward, he finds out that sometimes talking to strangers is the best way to learn to cope with family and circumstances.
I applaud Ken O’Neill’s ability to infuse tragedy with humor and to create a family of diverse characters who felt like a real family. I loved how George Bailey was able to practice humility and open up to the important people in his life after a lifetime of being an unhappy enigma, only to find out those same people weren’t who he thought they were either. I laughed. I cried. I felt George’s confusion, his hopelessness, and I prayed for a happy ending. I was amazed at how skillfully the author was able to develop coincidences into vital story elements that complemented the plot and the tone of the story.