Monday, October 5, 2009
My Son, John by Kathi Macias -- Book Review
My Son, John might just be the most powerful novel on forgiveness and unconditional love that you'll ever read!
When Liz Peterson's elderly mother is brutally murdered, Liz and her family try to understand how a woman loved by everyone met such a horrible death. But nothing could have prepared them for the day their grown son, John was arrested for his grandmother's murder. The Petersons' once simple life is now cast into chaos, where a mother, a father and a young sister who worshipped her older brother now struggle with the thought that John could have done something so despicable. Undoubtedly their faith is shaken, and the concept of unconditional love seems challenging in a way it never did before. Can God's grace place them on the path of healing, and ultimately forgiveness?
I have been a fan of Kathi Macias's nonfiction for quite some time, but I have never read any of her novels. Now, I want to scoop up each one and read them cover to cover. The emotional roller coaster ride that My Son, John takes you on is unbelievable. You will be forever changed once you read this book.
Now, I know the story behind this novel--which you'll read more about as Kathi's virtual book tour gets underway this month--but I did not have that information when I read it. To know where it originated from makes My Son, John even more powerful for me, but I also related to it on other levels.
I am a mother, so I immediately related to the difficulty Liz and her husband, Charles had in dealing with the knowledge that their son had not only changed so much since living with them, but could possibly have brutally murdered his own grandmother. And something like this is not an easy fix. Liz has to deal with her family crumbling to pieces, the change in some of her friends and fellow church members toward her, and struggle to keep it together all at the same time.
To say that this book touched me is an understatement. Macias has the ability to get right to the heart, touch you where it matters, get you thinking, and show you the might and power of an all-knowing, loving God without preaching, without hitting you over the head, and without speaking down to you. In My Son, John she is dealing with real issues, challenging issues where she pushes her characters right to the edge and you benefit from it. Not only because this is a book you won't be able to put down once you start, but also because her words and her faith draw you in and open your mind to the possibilities that exist there. When I am reading a book from Kathi Macias--fiction or nonfiction--I am so entranced that I forget I'm supposed to be reviewing the book and need to go back and reread portions of it with a more critical eye.
One thing I discovered when I took the time to step back was the majority of the story is told from Liz's perspective, but John's and Sarah's (Liz and Charles's teenage daughter) point of view also get a fair amount of time. Charles seems to get the short end of the stick and I'm curious as to why. The reader spends most of the time figuring out how Charles feels about things through his dialogue and Liz's impressions. It certainly doesn't take away from the story at all, but the writer in me wonders why the author decided to take this route.
If you have never read one of Macias's books, I strongly suggest you start with My Son, John. It is without a doubt her best work yet!
Title: My Son, John
Author: Kathi Macias
Publisher: Sheaf House
SRP: $12.99 (U.S.)