HSH Book Club – The Given Day
February 21, 2023
The first HSH Book Club of 2023 met to discuss the book The Given Day by Dennis Lehane. The Given Day is a historical fiction novel set in Boston in the early 20th century. It follows two main characters, Danny Coughlin, an Irish Boston Police patrolman, and Luther Lawrence, a Black man from Tulsa fleeing from a violent crime of self-defense, as they mature and navigate their lives against the backdrop of the Spanish flu outbreak, the Red Scare, and the Boston Police Strike of 1919.
Lehane’s other works include Shutter Island and Mystic River. He was also a writer for HBO’s The Wire and Boardwalk Empire. He has a knack for capturing turbulent moments and illustrating complex human emotions. Both talents are on display in The Given Day as his characters experience the social and political unrest of the period. Lehane was also born and raised in Dorchester, which sparked his interest in Boston History.
The Book Club members reflected on their experiences reading the book and the impact it had on them. Each member walked away with newfound interests in the events covered in the book. Some even tried desperately to find out whether some characters and minor events were based on facts. The Given Day is a captivating novel that brought out many emotions, and overall, a very entertaining pick to read over the holiday season.