Monday, December 12, 2011

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter

I stayed up way too late the night before writing this review just to finish this book. This was another book recommended by one of you – thanks as always for your recommendations! One of the reasons it was recommended is that Franklin is a native of Alabama. I really enjoyed reading this book. I suppose you could describe Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter as a social commentary wrapped up like a mystery/thriller or just a really good novel.

Set in Mississippi (thus the crooked letter reference for those Southerners who learned how to spell the state), Crooked Letter Crooked Letter focuses on two men: Larry Ott and Silas Jones. One man has lived in the same small community with the accusation of having killed a young girl though no body was ever found nor any other proof. The other went to college, spent time in the armed forces and has returned to be the police of sorts in the district. He is well thought of and respected. They were once secret friends due to their differences in race. Now the rift between them is wide yet circumstances are about to bring them together once more. Which man will prove the one of greater character?

I wasn't sure exactly what the book was about when I began reading. I guess I was thinking The Help for men. This book was more than just a story about race relations in the South, although that was part of the plot. It was more about the choices you make, growing up and as an adult. How does one develop a good character in oneself? Can a person be respected if they harbor deep secrets? In what ways can we ask forgiveness of one another when we have deeply hurt or offended?

There is some violence in the book, descriptions of human remains, details of drug use and a perverted understanding of rape. There are a lot of sad events, suggested incest and obvious child abuse. However, the end of the book is hopeful and full of promise.

What does this book have to do with my faith? I think this whole book is about hope. Even when your day to day life is the same or you are lonely and even the church has rejected you, there is still hope. Just because you live with a deep, dark secret or exist on the edge of poverty, there is still hope. This is because our hope as Christians is not earthly hope (winning the lottery, getting the girl, achieving success). Our hope comes from Christ. Our hope is in the gift of new life and the promise of the resurrection. Larry, although cut off from the rest of society, still carries hope within him. You can see it when he still goes to the garage every morning, opening the bay doors and looking expectantly down the quiet road, hoping for someone, a stranger, to come and ask for his expertise. How hopefully are you living?

I highly recommend this book – fast read and lots to think about when you put the book down!

Happy reading!


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