Multnomah Books (June 15, 2010)
I discovered Ms Schalesky’s books a few years ago as a come-lately book blogger. Now reading is much more than just a hobby although the only thing I get out of it other than doing something I love is free books and cyber-friendships with other bloggers, authors, readers, publicists, and publishers.
Ok time to get back to the subject at hand – the book I read. Marnie has distanced herself from a past she wishes never happened and for years tried to sweep under the rug until the consequences catch up to her. She’s discovered a faith that she ignored for a very long time, built herself a business she loves, and formed relationships that now provide a support network whatever may come with friends who will love her unconditionally. When her sister, Rose dies, Marnie’s nephew Emmitt becomes her responsibility on account of a promise Rose’s lawyer made to see that he was placed under Marnie’s care if anything happened to Rose. When Emmitt arrives all Marnie can see is the external appearance – a 3 year old in a 15 year old body, little attention span, a walking disaster, and a disruption to her sanity along with the privacy and quiet life she has spent so much time pursuing. She does her best to love and care for the human hurricane that has entered her life with no warning. As she grows to understand and recognize the love Emmitt offers in his awkward, childish way Marnie starts to not only trust herself more but to accept Emmitt on his own level. Rose’s lawyer happens to discover some discrepancies in the records of Emmitt’s birth and parentage along the path of wrapping up the necessary paperwork to transfer guardianship to Emmitt’s aunt. This lawyer also happens to be a former flame of Marnie’s and the social worker handling Emmitt’s case came into Marnie’s life through Rose and later stuck around for Rose a while longer. The lawyer and social worker happen to be a part of Marnie’s life she’d rather was kept locked up in an out of the way closet somewhere but they insist on not only uncovering the truth about Emmitt’s birth but also on making sure Marnie has to hear when that truth is presented.
As usual Schalesky drops readers smack into the middle of complicated lives and circumstances that point characters one direction while the truth is thousands of miles away or so they assume. There were moments of clarity and comedies of errors that lightened up a heavy and emotionally difficult story. The seriousness of the story is quite appropriate for the subject matter however. I’ve admired Schalesky’s ability to infuse some joyful moments into even the most emotionally intense subjects in the novels I’ve read by her. The stories continue to highlight changes in attitude and choices that we can change even if the circumstances seem impossible to accept and manage. Her characters have such realistic depth to their personalities and thoughts they could be a living being standing right there facing you. Be sure and check out Schalesky’s two prior novels that are built around the lives of different characters who cross over to the companion books as secondary characters. Beyond the Night is Paul and Maddie’s story of devastating personal loss that brings them to God’s feet on their knees for He is the only being capable of being sufficient in every way. If Tomorrow Never Comes is Kinna & Jimmy’s story of love and friendship that forms the foundation for a loving family until they discover that their family may always be just the two of them. As in all her books that I have read life is the true teacher of our inadequacy and God’s ultimate ability to be more than enough even if dreams are shattered. (ISBN#9781601420251, 352pp, $13.99)