I Laughed, I Cried…

…It moved me, blog.  Since you are named for something my beloved hero of the Mitford novels is known as saying, I thought I should first share with you my thoughts of Jan Karon’s latest book, Come Rain Or Come Shine.

The other day I was feeling bored, which is rather rare for me. I had just finished the December ladies’ book club selection, which  had put me in a nice Christmas mood. But now I had nothing else to read. Nothing frivolous, I mean, for those moments of boredom when I just want to relax. So I did a search for Jan Karon books at the library, hoping that the title I was looking for, Light From Heaven, would be at my closest library. I have trouble picking one novel for my favorite of the Mitford series; for a long time it was These High, Green Hills. But then came along Light From Heaven, and I have been attached to it ever since. I like how it ends at Christmastime with a lovely surprise for the reader.

I gained more than just the location of my favorite Mitford book, though- there was a new one! And it was showing available at my library! Win!

You wouldn’t have trouble with a summary of this book, blog, but others should be informed that this book series now numbers 12 full tomes of wonderful stories. From the very first book, At Home In Mitford, we readers are introduced to the most colorful of characters, and sometimes the most heartbreaking. Young Dooley Barlowe was basically abandoned by his alchoholic mother and left to raise his siblings at times, until they were scattered here and there. One of Father Tim’s goals, then, after he takes in Dooley and sets about raising him as his own son, is to find the missing siblings and bring them back together. It is such a great side story.

Dooley is now a grown man in Come Rain, just graduated from vet school and preparing for his marriage to Lace Harper, another would-be victim of her negligent parents and poverty-stricken surroundings if it had not been for Father Tim’s intervention. Yes, through the entire series, this Episcopal priest shines unrealistically as more saint than sinner, but I find it inspiring, not irritating. He is what I would like to better be, he says what I wish I could have better said. And he is not without his faults- at least two of the books have us wading through a debilitating depression right along with Father Tim. His salvation comes when he can begin again to spend his life pouring it into the lives of others, and serving them. I think this is fabulous advice.

I am really pleased with this newest book. Ever since Light From Heaven came out I have been surprised to see any more additions, and have not been  very happy with them. The ‘Father Tim’ novels, I thought, were rather dramatic for drama’s sake: Let’s have all these skeletons jump out of his family closet because isn’t that exactly how every other family has issues from their past to deal with? Then came Somewhere Safe With Somebody Good, which seemed to want to take another intense ride into subjects like high-risk pregnancy (the tamest) to unfaithfulness and attempted suicide (the heaviest). But maybe it had just been a long time since I had read any of the others. I mean, she’s got a lady set on fire by her drunk husband in These High, Green Hills. Pretty heavy stuff in my favorite book.

All in all, I was glad that this latest offering was a happy ending in many ways, but also provided much to continue the story if Karon so chooses. Her limit is Father Tim’s advancing age, and she has said in the past that she does not want to have him die. We shall see.

Good book. Now I am on the hunt for a new boredom-buster.