Sunday, May 28, 2006

Escape from Fred

Jess, Mia and I spent the day visiting with family, and while we are exhausted, it was a wonderful way to spend the holiday. We had lunch with my mom, played Yahtzee with his grandma, parents, and brother, and visited with Dad and Liz. Mia had a great time with lots of family, especially her cousin Nora (Jess' niece). She's really looking forward to having a cousin who will be her age to play with. We're all looking forward to Hana coming from Ethiopia. Pam and Eric don't know exactly when they will be able to get her, but we'll be praying for their safety.

Escape from Fred by Brad Whittington is a powerful, moving conclusion to the Fred, Texas trilogy. Unlike other series dependent upon a recurrent character, not only does Mark Cloud mature throughout the books, but the writing and plot do as well. This book is much more story driven with Mark making some unexpected choices, but I see that as being true to life. As we get older, we focus in more on specific goals or desires, and we often leave behind friends and family. So while we don't spend much time actually in Fred, Texas in this book, Whittington does a wonderful job of making Mark grow up and face the world. I would very much like to know who the inspiration for Jolene is, partly so I can make sure I'm never even in the same state she is! I also really enjoy the exchanges between Mark and his sisters; they are hilarious with just the right touch of meanness for sibling rivalry. I happen to be reading the book of Job right now in my Bible, so reading about Mark struggling with it and through it helped me through it as well. The book was excellently written and ended the series on just the right note. The last few paragraphs are a letter of love just for the readers: perfection.

Jess is getting ready to put the steaks on the grill so we're working on our own perfection for the evening. Have a great Memorial Day!


Brad Whittington said...


What a pleasant surprise when The Woman showed me this review. I spent a lot of time in Job while working on that book, too, and benefited greatly from reading Mike Mason's "The Gospel According to Job." The ending of Escape was the only one I was nervous about, but it felt right, so I went with it.

Jolene's antics were inspired by stories my CPA told me about the tricks his wife played on him. She's calmed down a lot now, though.

Thanks for brightening my day.