Thursday, June 22, 2017
Chasing Fireflies by Charles Martin
The main characters lives are interwoven through the contemporary story line and through a previous history story line of one of the characters. Chase Walker is a reporter who grew up never knowing his family but raised in a loving foster home where he was eventually adopted. But the drive to know who his father was and the truth about his abandonment has driven him his whole life, even to the choosing of his profession which he figured give him access to information to help him find answers. Willie, or "Unc", as he's referred to by Chase, is a man who is compassionate towards children who have had a hard life. He too has had a hard past with loss and betrayal but it has only made him more of a loving person, even as the town and members of his own family look down on him. The other main character is a small boy who has suffered horrific abuse. He is unable to talk but can draw with great skill in order to communicate. They nickname him Sketch no one, not even the boy himself seems to know his real name. As Chase and Willie try to unravel the mystery that Sketch is and where he has come from and to whom he belongs, they must both confront their own issues of brokenness, abandonment and pain.
I'll not lie, the prologue and some parts of the story that involved the young boy were absolutely heartbreaking and not easy to read. Nor was the story line of a secondary female character who is a longtime friend of Chase and niece of Willie. Her story line is also a painful one. But the story is one of redemption and of love standing strong in the face of the worst of what life throws at some people. All the characters are well written and relatable but Willie especially was wonderful. His southern sayings bought a levity to the story that brought smiles even in the midst of their truth. As always Charles Martin's words and story telling ability drew me right in. His phrasing and pacing were right on target and every emotion was drawn out of me, the reader. This story was sad yet beautiful and filled with hope.
I gave it a 9/10