Friday, December 5, 2008
Book Look Review "Grace"
A New Christmas Gift Book by Richard Paul Evans
Any book by Richard Paul Evans is not a good Christmas choice for the cynical or Grinchical in your gift giving circle of family and friends. It is perfect for those who feel that the worth of a book is measured by the tears shed. Yes mom, I am referring to your famous phrase, “I really got my money’s worth”. I am somewhere in the middle of these two groups. I resent obvious emotional manipulation by an author, but I cannot help crying anyway. I see it coming, I have been alerted by the description on the back, but I read it anyway. I confess I am a sentimental sucker at times. Go ahead and read “Grace”. Just admit you are a sap - especially at Christmas.
“Grace” opens with an abbreviated version of “The Little Match Girl” by Hans Christian Andersen. I hated this classic story because it tormented me. Stories, fictional or real, about the suffering and abuse of children really upset me. I almost stopped reading “Grace” after the introduction, but knowing I had this review hanging over my head, I persevered. Evans must have known about my hesitation because although the story is poignant it is not traumatic. I appreciated his sensitive approach to the painful reality of child abuse and teenage runaways.
The year is 1962. The Welch family has recently moved from southern California to a rundown house in Utah due to their father’s disability. Eric, a shy fourteen year old, “with acne and a bad hair cut”, notices Grace searching for food in the dumpster behind the restaurant where he works. This kind hearted Samaritan takes her home and hides her in his clubhouse. Eric explains how the experience of these few weeks changes his life forever and determines his later career path.
You will see the tragedy coming but the story is worth the tears. Have a box of Kleenex beside you and plan on staying up late to finish this short Richard Paul Evans novel.
I am giving this book to my mom for Christmas – she will definitely get her money’s worth from this one. Merry Christmas, I love you mom. (The photo is my mom age 21)