Tuesday, April 19, 2011

After the Leaves Fall

After the Leaves Fall
By Nicole Baart
ISBN:  978-1414316222
Available Format:  Paperback, ebook, Audiobook

My Rating:  ★★★★★


Another great read by a Christian author. I was captivated in the first chapter when she writes:

"He was buried on a rainy day in October, and I remember the sound of the raindrops on the lid of the sleek black casket and how it seemed like music to me. The pastor was doing his best to make sorrowful and occasion that seemed anything but--the leaves on the trees above us were burnt amber, the consoling sky around us was velvety gray, and the rain was singing softly. I didn't feel sad. I felt expectant."

"I'm dying too, I thought when I heard the keen that could only be coming from my own mouth. What but death could possibly feel like this?"

"But I wasn't even close to dying. Fresh air was new life that filled my veins. Grief was so quickly and yet so incompletely replaced by something that felt like relief that I careened from guilt to repose and never became fully settled with anything I felt."

"Thank you, God, for taking him. I would breathe the half prayer over and over, and for those minutes in the newly quiet house, I would feel something close to peace. Then the very next morning the lack of his presence across the table would choke me until my tongue was thick and threatening in my mouth, and I promised God my soul if only I could have one more day with Dad."

"I began to exist in a tension between wanting and not wanting--waiting for something I couldn't even pin down in my most naked and honest moments. Waiting for a balance where I neither ached nor forgot, regretted nor accepted. Waiting for my heart to be light again yet fearing the implications of that same lightness. I suppose I waited for peace--an end to my own personal warfare."

I was so profoundly reminded of everything that I went through when I lost my own father. Although my experience wasn't quite the same, so many of the emotions she felt were--and Baart did such a lovely job of conveying those emotions through her words.

It was a rather sad story. I felt that Julia just could not catch a break, but I think we all feel that way sometimes. We don't quite know the full outcome when the book comes to a close, but we are left with a new hope...a promise that her future is finally going to be okay. She has found the answer she was searching for. What is her constant? And she has also found a new, although frightening, purpose. Motherhood.

I think this would be a wonderful read for teenage and college age girls. There are several lessons to be learned in this story.

The fact that she ends up with an unplanned pregnancy (and her boyfriend pressures her to abort) also relates closely to my work with the young ladies I counsel at Choose Life--a little extra bonus of some good recreational reading!

Baart weaves this beautiful story seamlessly and with such poetic grace. I was absolutely not disappointed.