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Saturday, December 17, 2016

Be Jubilant, My Feet

miracle: 1.) an event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural or divine cause. 2.) a wonder; marvel.

"Peace Like A River" (2001) is a novel about both kinds of miracles. And Leif Unger's 2001 debut is itself a miracle in the latter sense.

"You know how it is - you grow up with a story in your life, it can transmute into something you neither question nor particularly value. It's why we have such bad luck learning from mistakes." 

Eleven year old Reuben Land - the narrator and witness of this thoroughly enchanting and beautifully written book - makes more than his share of mistakes. But he has a devoted Father who literally willed him into life, an older hot-headed fugitive brother who he idolizes, and a precocious and talented younger sister who knows how to bring him back from crippling asthma attacks. Reuben's voice is strong even when his breathing fails him.

"At that moment, there was nothing - no valiant history or hopeful future - half worth my sister's pardon. Fair is whatever God wants to do." 

This is an old-fashioned book in all the right ways. It has a compelling narrative arc, unforgettable characters, and an unmistakable moral center. If you've read it or do so in the future, let's swap notes, OK?   

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