Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wrapped in Rain by Charles Martin

I was not familiar with Charles Martin as an author, but a patron at the library recommended him highly, and I decided to read this particular book of his based on a quote on the back of the book from Library Journal that said:  "Martin's engaging Southern family drama will have crossover appeal for readers of Pat Conroy.  It deserves a place in all collections."

Pat Conroy has always been one of my favorite authors, so I decided to see what I thought about Martin and his style of writing.  First let me say, I LOVED this book.  It is a very moving story that illustrates beautifully some of my favorite verses from the bible--1 Corinthians 13:4-7  Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.   It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.   Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.   It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Tucker Mason is a photographer of international fame who has seen life in all its beauty and tragedy.  When his brother escapes from a mental institution and an old girlfriend appears with a son and a black eye, Tucker is forced to go back home where he will have to face the pain of his own past.  Growing up in the home of an abusive, alcoholic father in rural Alabama, the best thing his father ever did for Tucker was hire Miss Ella Rain to look after them. 

Miss Ella is my favorite character from the book, and her timeless words of wisdom about the redeeming power of love are infused in just about every page and indelibly written on Tucker's heart.  Here's just one brief example:  "Light doesn’t have to announce its way into a room or ask the darkness to leave. It just is. It walks ahead of you, and the darkness rolls back like a tide."  Like that? Here's another:  "Child," she said placing her head to mine and her callused fingers on my cheek, "you can whip it and beat it senseless, you can drag it through the streets and spit on it, you can even dangle it from a tree, drive spikes through it, and drain the last breath from it, but in the end, no matter what you do, and no matter how hard you try to kill it, love wins."

This book touched me to my core from the very first pages.  I did not want to put it down.  Thought provoking and beautifully written.

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