Monday, October 13, 2008

Home Another Way by Christa Parrish


Christa Parrish's debut novel is haunting and lyrical. I had a difficult time reading it as the subject matter is rather dark, and during this season of my life I needed something light and uplifting.

With a few words, the mood is quickly set--powerful writing. I was quickly drawn into Sarah Graham's story of loss, pain and abandonment. Her journey to claim what she never really wanted in the first place resounded in my soul--it's a journey I was on myself only a few days ago.

Sarah is alone in the world in many ways, and the pain she's suffered at the hands of her grandmother and others who chose to walk away or neglect her has caused high, thick walls to grow up around her heart.

Living in a prison keeps others from hurting you...but it also keeps you from being touched with love and caring. When the terms of her father's will force Sarah to remain in the tiny town of Jonah, New York, Sarah truly feels swallowed up in the belly of something she longs to run from.

Can the love and acceptance of some of the oddest and most unique characters break down those walls? Will Beth, scarred on the outside, help Sarah face her inside scars? Spending time with Memory and caring for her disabled son causes Sarah to revisit memories she'd rather keep buried.

Why did her father force her to stay in Jonah? Can she ever forgive him for the horrid thing he did? And will the truth set her free...or just make her miserable and defeated?

Christa writes with power, passion, and a melancholy tone that draws you into the story from the first few words. She has the ability to select just the right word to strike a chord in the darkest, most secret places in the human heart.

Christa opens up old wounds of hurt and pain, then uses the characters of her fictional Jonah to pour the healing balm on those sore spots. And she reveals that everyone, no matter where you've been or come from, has never gone too far to be reached.

I'm highly impressed with this debut novel, and look forward to more from Christa Parrish. While it was depressing for me to read due the season I'm facing in my own life, I was able to step into Sarah's shoes and walk with her awhile, and in the end, I'm glad I stuck it out for the entire journey.

One complaint is the constant switching in point of view; a few times I felt lost and had to flip back to re-read a passage to recall who was speaking. That's a difficult writing technique to master, but I'm certain Christa will only continue to grow as an author.

I'm giving "Home Another Way" four out of five bookmarks, with a violin and bow as a charm. Pick up a copy from Bethany House publishers today, and meet a new author I think you'll love!

Happy Reading!


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