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+!
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.