Friday, September 19, 2014

The Edge of the World by Phil Callaway ~ Book Review

Terry Anderson is a 12 (or is it 10?  I can't remember) year old growing up in the small town of Grace.  As small towns go back in the day, the citizens are grouped by each other into distinct categories of either church goers or not.  Terry's family definitely is so his growing up years are steeped in Christian school and church activities.  And being extremely poor shapes everything he does.  But being Canadian, Terry thrives on the outdoor rink each winter, skating until he's frozen.  The indoor rink where it would definitely be warmer is off limits to the church going kids.  So suffer it out he must.  Nothing keeps him away.  And it is during one of those times when he is the last to leave that Terry makes a discovery that could change his life forever.  He comes across what he's always longed for and what he thought would change his life into something so much better.   He must keep it a secret or risk losing it all.  But with the secrets come the lies.  And with the telling of the lies comes keeping all those lies straight.  And then there is the moral dilemma of it all.  How is a young kid to cope?  The lure of keeping the secret and making his life easier is too big to pass up and Terry starts to question what he really believes.  Does he have the faith of his parents?  With a godly older brother to look up to and whom he doesn't want to disappoint, Terry struggles with telling anyone his secret.  He knows he should but the doors it is opening to his impoverished life is just too tempting.  Maybe he'll wait just one more day.

This fiction story is written by one of my favorite funny authors.  It's his first fictional story and I think it was an engaging and sweet read.  It is written in the voice of young Terry and you really get a young boy's view on everything from church, to school, to a young boy's first crush on the pretty girl at school, to the fun characters in the town and church that make up his small world.  It takes a look at some pretty deep issues of faith and poverty, seemingly good circumstances and moral dilemmas and looks at them through the innocence of a young boy.  The author made the mid century town come to life through Terry's telling and it was nostalgic and fun, sad and sweet all at the same time.  There were many laugh out loud moments as the young Terry describes what he sees in truth and honesty without all the covering up that adults tend to do to keep up appearances. ltimately it's a book about God's grace and forgiveness, acceptance and belonging.  I thought it was a great read.

Linked with Semicolon Saturday Review of Books

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