Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Silent Gift by Michael Landon Jr. and Cindy Kelley

The decade of the thirties was a time of enormous uncertainty - for the world, for America, and in particular for one lonely, struggling mother and her disabled son. Their story is one of unyielding love and incredible sacrifices in the face of circumstances beyond belief.

But then The Gift appears...where has it come from, and why? How can a young boy who can not communicate provide comfort and direction to seekers who learn of his special ability? Whatever the source, its presence brings a single shaft of light and hope to Mary and her beloved son, Jack.... Will it be enough?

I've been sitting here for about 10 minutes now trying to decide how and what I want to say about this book. I had received an email from the publicist asking me if I wanted to review the book and I have been hesitant about excepting them since I had a really, really bad experience a few months ago. I went ahead and accepted anyway and now I'm sitting hear unsure of what I want to say about it. I just keep looking at the cover and find myself riveted by the simpleness yet overwhelming power of the image.

The coauthors are both screenwriters and the book read more like a movie than a book. I was able to visualise every little description in my head which isn't always the case with most books. The opening sequence is breathtaking. The authors describe the frantic nature of trying to get your wife to the hospital before she gives birth. The horror of losing control of the car and ending up in a body of water and the frantic effort to save your wife and unborn child. The scene ends with the wife giving birth in the water and holding her new baby up. It was brilliantly written and I'm still in awe thinking of it.

Based on the cover and the description of the book you would assume that Jack would be the central character, at least that was what I was expecting. However the story centers around Mary and her desire to build a better life for her son who is both deaf and mute. It starts when Mary leaves her emotionally detached husband and runs away with her son, which by the way is another beautifully written sequence.

The rest of the book details how Mary gains and loses on her overall goal and the role that "The Gift" plays in her plans. How she uses the gift of sight that God gave and how it is twisted by other's to serve their needs which causes Mary to lose control for a period of time. Mary tells everyone that Jack can see the future and gives it by writing, with numbers, the location of a Bible verse that applies to a particular person. Now I was able to figure out the twist pretty much in the beginning of the book when Mary leaves her husband but it's done so beautifully that I forgave the authors for not hiding it a little better.

My only issue with the book is that is focused on Mary so much that Jack was little more than a storytelling device. He was a brilliant storytelling device but in the end I was not able to really feel as much for Jack as I was able to for Mary. I think it was a combination of the fact he is both deaf and mute so remains just a little distant to the reader and the fact that he is kept in the shadows for a large portion of the book.

Overall I found this to be a heartwarming story of redemption and faith in the face of adversity. That the love of family and God will see you through hard times is at the core of this book and I'm really hoping they go ahead and write the screenplay for it.

1 comment:

ibeeeg said...

I have now read three reviews, including yours, on this book. Each review has a bit of a different take on the story yet all three have liked this book. You pointed out that Mary was more central to the story than the boy. Thanks for that.
I know that I am going to give this book a read because it has really caught my interest.
I am glad that you did except the request to review this book.