Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My library habit

So far the "library thing" is paying off pretty well. I just finished the last of the books I've got in my hot little hands, "The Darkest Evening of the Year" by Dean Koontz.

I was a little unsure going into it: dog on cover + title = potential hate fest before the whole thing was over with. After my friend Brenda (and my skipping ahead to read the ending) assured me that it would be OK, I went for it.

And I enjoyed. I really did. I read it in two nights. And since I've been a little jumpy, watching the shadows, but that's just evidence of a good book, right?

My only caveats: you probably need to be a dog person and also be willing to believe in miracles to be satisfied with this one. And I am a dog person and I have zero difficulty trusting miracles (in fiction, anyway). The last chapter, the one that makes it all OK, wouldn't have been written the same if I'd been in charge of this book because everything is tied up so neatly but quickly. Still, it is a 100% happy ending and I'm all about those (in fiction anyway). Really, good, particularly if you love dogs and see in them the gift of God. There's a whole lot of God here too, without much religion, but as I understand this Creator, I'm OK with that too. The plot summary: Amy has a Golden Retriever rescue operation and in the process of saving one amazingly special dog from the abuse of man, she rescues a family, and finds her own salvation because something unseen, something evil waits. And Amy, because of her life's challenges, is sensitive to patterns, to the work of an unseen hand, to the mystery in this world. It's a rescue story: a singular golden in her past, other goldens taken from the horrors of puppy mills, an amazing golden carrying a mystery in her present, a lost child suffering because of the evil of man. Really, who doesn't love a good redemption story?

I have 2 (very long) quotes that say a lot about this book. After you read them, maybe you'll decide to check it out too.

This follows a description of a true dog lover as a person who sees dogs as not mere pets or animals and more than companions, not too far removed from the "exceptionalism" of humankind. These people can see "a remarkable complexity in each dog's personality, an individualism uncannily human in its refinement, though with none of the worst of human faults". Sometimes you will "perceive in them that singular yearning that is common to every human heart, even to those who claim to live a faithless existence. For dogs see mystery in the world, in us and in themselves and in all things, and are at key moments particularly alert to it, and more than usually curious." And this sensitivity to the mysterious is a theme, a requirement to save the day.

And then back to the subject of "The Shack" and the nature of God and why there is suffering in this world. (And Brenda, you were right. I did cry, but just a little. It doesn't take much to push me over that ledge lately though!)

Because God is never cruel, there is a reason for all things. We must know
the pain of loss; because if we never knew it, we would have no compassion for
others, and we would become monsters of self-regard, creatures of unalloyed
self-interest. The terrible pain of loss teaches humilty to our prideful kind,
has the power to soften uncaring hearts, to make a better person out of a good


Brenda said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed/loved it, you know how hard it is to recommend a book to anyone who loves "books/words/writing." And for the too quick ending.......That is probably my only gripe about Koontz, he wraps up all the loose ends very neatly: but sometimes leaves me "dangling".

Brenda said...

oh and BTW, you really should consider writing reviews for your part-time job!! You do it very well.