Everything That Came Before Grace
Everything That Came Before Grace
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A single-father comes of age as he discovers whether it’s love or fatherhood that could save him. Haunted by his mother’s death and a series of serendipitous events from his past, Benjamin Bradford desperately tries to keep his mental illness under control while raising his daughter Sophia. Set against the iconic streets of Los Angeles, there’s music always playing, heavy therapy sessions and private emails to discern, shattered friendships and betrayal, and the specter of a true love that got away. Think: Silver Linings Playbook meets High Fidelity with a dash of Eighth Grade. Can Benjamin find redemption? Can he escape his demons and find love again? Come along for the ride and find out.

Book Details


  • Fiction

Age Level: 

  • Adult
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As a music adherent with an underlying mental illness, writer Benjamin Bradford shares  his challenges, his loves (Anna and Sophie), and his questionable motivations in the novel Everything that Came Before Grace.  Readers can’t help but connect with Benjamin as he falls in love, falls into fatherhood, and is essentially forced into adulthood accompanied by musical undertones which help him express otherwise suppressed emotions for benefit of momentary appeasements.

Benjamin Bradford is a single father, doing his best to raise his daughter, Sofia. He feels he has to be a perfect parent to prevent Sofia's grandparents from taking her away from him. This is made more difficult by keeping his mental illness hidden from everyone but his therapist. When the woman he considers the love of his life comes back into the picture, things get even more complicated, particularly as she is marrying his best friend.

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This is one of the most moving books I've read this year. Single dad Benjamin is trying to raise his daughter Sophia while keeping her in the dark about his mental illness, as well as the mental illness of his mother (and its impact on his childhood). Add in losing his "one true love" in college, and subsequently seeing her married to his best friend, and life gets pretty complicated pretty fast. The main theme of the father-daughter relationship is very well-written, and its ups and downs are incredibly realistic. The fears Benjamin has about his parenting may seem a little over the top at times and make him more than a little overprotective, but it all tends to make him someone you just want to hug (and at times, shout at to get over himself). I was also glad to see that the author did not give us a predictable ending, but that it was still full of hope and promise. There are a lot of song references throughout the book, which was fun. The author has put together a Spotify playlist of all of them, which makes for a great soundtrack while reading.
2 years 11 months ago

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