From the Timely and Timeless book discussion group on September 23, 2014.
And yet… the four children did survive largely due to their own devices and for the most part seem to be thriving as adults. For all of the real and potential disasters, this book was written with much compassion and forgiveness for her parents’ virtually nonexistent parenting skills. There is a non-judgmental matter-of-fact accounting of the lessons learned from living in such a dysfunctional situation. When discussing the book, it was more a litany of jaw dropping situations these children faced.
When sober, Rex Walls was a teacher to his kids –though some lessons were life threatening. He seems to have had a brilliant mind. Also when sober, he could show great love. But when he was not sober, it was an entirely different story. Mary Walls was naïve and had an extremely self-centered existence. Though she did not drink, her irresponsibility was another hurdle for the children to overcome. She escaped her surroundings by immersing herself into her world of art and creative endeavors. Under these circumstances, feeding clothing and sheltering their children was not a responsibility either parent accepted.
Probably the biggest take-away from this book was the underlying theme of acceptance and forgiveness, and an appreciation for the gifts that were there. Even with the disappointments that resulted from their situation, Jeannette’s story shows love. Whether this book is read as “Thank God this was not how I was raised” or taken as an ode to parents who did the best they could, it is certainly an engaging read.
WORTH DYING FOR by Lee Child = October 28 at Downtown on the Square at noon
This is the 15th in the series of 19 (so far) featuring Jack Reacher.
From Publishers Weekly:
In Child's exciting 15th thriller featuring one-man army Jack Reacher (after 61 Hours), Reacher happens into a situation tailor-made for his blend of morality and against-the-odds heroics. While passing through an isolated Nebraska town, the ex-military cop persuades the alcoholic local doctor to treat Eleanor Duncan, who's married to the abusive Seth, for a "nosebleed." Reacher later breaking Seth's nose prompts members of the Duncan clan, who are involved in an illegal trafficking scheme, to seek revenge. Reacher, who easily disposes of two hit men sent to get him, winds up trying to solve a decades-old case concerning a missing eight-year-old girl. While Child convincingly depicts his hero's superhuman abilities, he throws in a few lucky breaks to enable the outnumbered Reacher to survive. Crisp, efficient prose and well-rounded characterizations (at least of the guys in the white hats) raise this beyond other attempts to translate the pulse-pounding feel of the Die Hard films into prose. (Nov.) (c)