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Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite
Onansburg, Iowa by Peggy Lammers is the story of a man who learns to live once again after he lost his wife. Sonny Dawson feels lost without his wife Polly. She died suddenly, and Sonny has no idea what he will do now. The funeral process keeps him busy enough, but with the funeral over, Sonny has no idea what he is supposed to do now. Polly’s loss breaks something inside him that Sonny cannot recover. However, with the love of his life gone, Sonny has no option but to move forward. With the support of his friends and family and his determination to reclaim his life, Sonny is ready to become the best version of himself that he can be. He revisits the past and thinks about his present, and finally understands what makes him quintessentially Sonny.
Honestly, Onansburg, Iowa is a painful novel to read because of how well Peggy Lammers translates Sonny’s emotions with her words. The author holds nothing back and allows readers to understand that Sonny is just a person who is grieving the loss of someone special, and he now has to reconstruct everything. How devastating is that? The descriptions are vivid, they come alive and make a home in your mind. This story has empathy, it has honest emotions, and above all, it has a beautifully flawed human character who wears his heart on his sleeve. I have never read a novel where the emotions are this transparent and this real. Sonny just wants comfort; he wants warmth, and he needs to find his home again. It is a very unusual story, very artistic, but it is very beautiful at the same time.