This wonderful book explores the depths of grief and overwhelming love. How the loss of one loved one can almost destroy, only to have the love of child and the unexpected love and understanding of a community make one whole again. I loved this book, but cannot post, because I immediately put it in the hands of my sister, to be passed on to our other sister.
This is a novel that won't disappoint its readers. The prose is clear, the plot is believable and the characters have a strength and integrity that rings true. At the end of this book, I felt as if the main character were someone I liked very much and had known for a long time. His faith and fortitude in the face of very dire circustances were evident, and made his vulnerability all the more touching. I felt a sense of peace at the conclusion. Thank you, Ms. Strout, for a remarkably excellent book.
This was mainly about a minister in a small town, but I didn't get a preachy feeling from it. The author has the gossiping townspeople down pat!
I enjoyed the characters and the story very much. Elizabeth Strout rocks!
Abide with Me, by Elizabeth Strout
A young minister comes to a small New England town, where he suffers a profound loss. The themes of faith and challenges, loyalty and abandonment, depression, and loss swirl around the story. The author is an eloquent writer.
A moving book about love, dreams, secrecy, discouragement, disappointment, suffering, death, & forgiveness. Strout's writes of a minister's life in rural New England & enfolds each of the characteristics listed of the people in the book. Strout's writes of small-town life: the arrival of newcomers, the minister & his wife & the gossip they endure. Tyler Caskey, the minister, questions his calling of the ministry after the death of his wife. He asks himself, "Is it that his faith has left him, or is that he has left his faith?" Facing the grief, along with his pastoral duties, challenges his very being. Strout writes not only about Caskey's challenges as a minister, but about other characters in every-day-life. The book is a great read. I will read another of Elizabeth Strout's books.
Because I enjoyed 'Olive Kittridge" so much, I decided to try the author's earlier books.
I was slogging through this book until the final 30 pages, at which time it completely turned the corner for me. Tyler Caskey is a minister of a small church in rural Maine in the 1950s and his midlife crisis is brought on prematurely
by the death of his wife. Yet, throughout his difficulties he never really loses his faith in God, which may be why I began to warm to this book. I do not think I am giving anything away if I say that the author wraps the story up by the end in a manner that leaves no loose ends.
It would be tough book to recommend because you have to be willing to stick with it, and it is rough going at spots. Also, although the setting (small Protestant church) is familiar ro me, to others it may be like reading about a strange faraway culture.
During the late 1950s, in the small New England town of West Annett, Maine, Reverend Tyler Caskey is a man struggling through a crisis of faith. Having recently suffered a terrible loss, Tyler finds it incredibly difficult to be the person he once was. He has always considered himself to be a man of strong faith, and a highly-respected minister to his congregation. Now, in the face of Tyler's crushing grief, he finds himself doubting everything about his life that he once took for granted.
In the opinion of his disapproving, hypercritical mother, Tyler's two daughters - two-year-old Jeanne and five-year-old Katherine - aren't being taken care of properly. He struggles to find the proper words in his sermons, and in his conversations with those facing crises of their own. He finds the personal counseling sessions with his parishioners to be fairly meaningless actually; especially when they don't seem to want to follow his advice.
He hasn't even been successful in finding the right words to help bring his daughter, Katherine, out of the vow of silence she has observed in the wake of the family's tragedy. Tyler's usually kind and patient congregation has now begun to quietly question his leadership and propriety, and soon, inexcusable accusations are born out of anger and gossip. Then, in Tyler's darkest hour of need, a startling new discovery will test his parishioners' humanity - and his own will to endure the trials that sooner or later test us all.
I must say that while this book was slightly difficult to get into; I still found the story riveting and poignant. As I said, I had a bit of trouble getting into the flow of the story, but it was only a temporary feeling. This was the type of book that I began to read compulsively, after the first few pages, because I avidly wanted to know what was going to happen next. Overall, I give this book a definite A+!