Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Church of the Dog by Kaya McLaren
Church of the Dog by Kaya McLaren is a very precious emotional read. This would be a book that would be fantastic for a readers group to read, discuss and delve into all the emotional, cultural and spiritual aspects of our lives. Make sure to have a very large box of tissues as you will most certainly need them.
Earl and Edith McRae are the perfect example of commitment, love, family, friendship and all the wonderful and not so wonderful things that come with a life long relationship and marriage. Unfortunately they have had some dramatic events in their lives that have cost them dearly but yet they have survived. But, is only surviving really enough?
Daniel McRae is the grandson of Earl and Edith and he just doesn't seem to realize just how much his grandparents truly love him. His parents died when he was just a boy leaving him to be raised by them. Now as an adult he still has walls around him but can he let them down in time? Will his fear of emotional pain keep him from being where he needs to be?
Mara O'Shaunnessey is a beautiful free spirited redhead. Vegetarian by choice she is about to come face to face with death and dying on a larger scale. Her profession as an art teacher takes her to the town that the McRae's live in and she ultimately ends up living in a building on their property, helping with the ranch and helping each of the McRae's in different ways that can carry them through the life changing events that are about to take place.
The story starts us out with the elder McRae's and giving us the image of a married couple of sixty years and how they have survived after the death of their children and the abandonment of their grandson. It shows us that just surviving is not really living and what we take for granted during our sorrow just might not be there tomorrow.
Earl finds a lump on his neck one morning while combing his hair but decides to keep it a secret. His hope is to protect Edith from worry and he really doesn't want to do anything about it as he feels at the age of seventy nine, his time is almost at an end anyway.
Daniel continues to get letters from his grandpa to come home he doesn't believe that there is real feeling in the letters. Daniel thinks that his grandpa is only asking him to come home out of obligation because they are family. It's not until Daniel has this strange dream that he gets a deep gut feeling that he really should go home to Earl and Edith.
There is a strangeness about Mara as we go through the story that seems to have positive but questionable effects on the McRae's. Is she their Heavenly Angel come to guide them through a difficult period? Will her action's speak louder than words? What is it about this woman that is so comforting?
This author has given us a very emotionally charged novel. I for one will not forget this anytime soon as the events that have happened in my life in this last year are so very close to this storyline that I cried, questioned, thought and listened and I truly feel that through this novel I can finally put some of the pieces of the puzzle in order. I thank this author from the bottom of my heart for her wonderful insight in the development of this wonderful novel.
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics); Reprint edition (May 27, 2008)
Reviewed for Front Street Reviews