Thursday, September 14, 2006
Thanks to Eileen Elrod for this one. The book is Gilead by Marilynne Robinson and it is marvelous. Gilead is the story of the reverend John Ames, an aged preacher in an aged church in an aging town in Iowa. Ames sets out to write a letter to his young son and this book is the text of that endeavor. The pace of the book is slow, but not in a tedious, boring way. Robinson does a wonderful job of using the pacing of the book to develop the voice of the protagonist. Ames is old and is slowing down, his best friend is in his last days, his young son is in the magical days of childhood, everything in his life moves at a slower pace. Take the time to join reverend Ames in his slower, more reflective pace and you will not regret it. One of the many emotions this book stirred in me was a wistfulness of the childhood my children are not able to have. Ames reminisces about times where he and his best friend would lay on the roof of the chicken coop and watch clouds and talk about all sorts of things magical and real. I started thinking about if my children ever have time to have unmonitored by adult conversations about anything. It seems as though we are raising a generation of children who are never out of sight or earshot of adults and thus, are losing the chance to talk to and wonder with their friends about the things of life. That made me sad. The last blessing Ames writes to his son is one I wish for all boys, especially my own, and I will close with that: "I'll pray that you grow up a brave man in a brave country. I will pray you find a way to be useful." Amen.