I didn't think I was going to post on Christmas Day, but then I finished this book called Passing by Samaria and all of a sudden I HAD TO WRITE A REVIEW. I'm going to past here the review I just wrote for Goodreads. Love to you all!
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WHAT. JUST. HAPPENED.
Guys, I don't even really know how to start.
"In the spring in Mississippi there were perfect days. They were storybook days. . . ."
Two nights ago (or rather, technically, it was very very early yesterday morning), I was feeling drained. There had been some really difficult situations going on the previous day that were still weighing on me, and I had had a weird sleep schedule for the past number of nights, and I had just seen a movie that was much sadder than I thought it would be. All in all, I was not in the best frame of mind, and even though it was high time to be in bed, I knew I would just lie there awake. So, I decided to pick up a book and try to read a bit. This one caught my eye. The author's dedication on the front page indicate a desire for the book to be a balm for hurting hearts (not quite in those words), and though I seemed to remember having some complaints about the writing from my previous scan of it, I also seemed to remember a "wholesome quality" to it, shall we say. I asked God to use the book to speak some comfort and some healing, to help me get what He wanted me to get out of it, and I started it.
GUYS. IT WAS SO GOOD.
Oh, it's not perfect. I mean, really, is any book ever perfect? (DON'T say the Bible. You know what I meant.) I still had a few (a very few) complaints. But it didn't take long to realize that the good pretty clearly outstrips the bad.
The story takes place in 1919 and centers around a young black woman named Alena, whose near-fairytale life in Mississippi is shattered by a gruesome discovery. This discovery catapults her from her gentle, rural Mississippi home to the modern and bustling Chicago. There she has to come to grips with the new harsh realities that have been forced upon her, and to process for herself questions of racism, bitterness, forgiveness, redemption, family, faith, etc. I can't say a whole lot more than that because #spoilers, but -- just go read it. Just do yourself that favor.
|Gugu Mbatha-Raw -- possible Alena?|
The book deals with some very weighty content matter. It contains racism that will make you nauseous, descriptions of the Klan-like practices of "upstanding" town citizens, lynchings, burning, assaults, distorting of God's Word to support barbarism, etc. It contains moral dilemmas that will make you ache for the character because of how many times you've felt that same sense of entrapment. It contains happiness that will make you happy, anger that will make you angry, sorrow that will make you sorry. It contains redemption that will make you want to weep and to smile at the same time. It contains forgiveness that will challenge you and uplift you. It's good, people. In dealing with forgiveness in the face of the (humanly) unforgivable, it deals with one of the most difficult issues to discuss, but which desperately needs to be addressed. One thing I found especially impressive was how Ms. Foster didn't make all the racism/wrong one-sided. Herself a black lady, she doesn't mince words about how racism is wrong, no questions asked, no excuses holding. And it's wrong no matter which ethnicity nurtures it towards which other ethnicity.
|Aldis Hodge -- possible James?|
OH, oh, and guys, CHAPTER 35. WHAT ON EARTH. *SPOILERS!* They came to his funeral and they sang "Amazing Grace." And then some of the others joined them and they formed the circle --just w.o.w. I had to read that part twice because GAHH.
Okay, I should leave you. But guys, I just want you to know, this book is worth reading. It's not the best thing you'll ever read in your life (at least, not from a technical standpoint), but it has some of the best lessons and truth in it that you'll ever read in a fictional book, I think.
The dedication says: ". . . I lift this book up to God. . . . May it be everything You want it to be. May it be medicine, food, sweets to Your people, to those who are isolated." Well, for me at least, it was. Oh, it was.