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Virtual Book Club: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

(I know you will be and I hope you are an excellent ma, and I will love you absolutely if you are not.)~ Gilead, p73

This was our local book club read for January, 2010. I've read Gilead, a novel by Marilynne Robinson, before, and the second time around went much better. The first time I read this, it was on my list because it was a Pulitzer Prize winner. It is very beautifully written, but not a page turner. The first time I read it I drug my feet into the ground and finished it kicking and screaming and only for the satisfaction of saying, "There! I'm done!"
This time around, I absolutely loved the language, appreciated the tender story of the father, and found many quotable parts within it. Perhaps my change in life made me feel that way, from no kids, to now having two, or from simply being in a hurry to read it before, where this time, I took a solid two months to read it, and if I read 10 pages, that was a good day. I soaked up this book and cherished it when I was done.
The story is set in Gilead, Iowa, a small town that used to be a safe area for African Americans travelling away from the racists south. The main character, John Ames, also the narrator, is simply writing a long letter of wisdom & history to his son, because he is dying. He is an elderly man with a small child, and one of the things I most loved about this book was the tenderness in which he explained himself to his son, who wouldn't be reading this for many years.
A sweet novel about love in many forms. Christian/neighborly love, unconditional love for children, and redemptive love & grace. So sweet. I hope you liked it as much as I have this time around. What did you think?
If you're following along online, our next book for February is The Outside World by Tova Mirvis.


StephG said…
Thanks for the review, Sarah, sounds like a book I'd enjoy reading. :)

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