Monday, November 12, 2007

Home to Holly Springs

Molly is obsessed with personality quizzes. When she's bored on a weekend, she'll take them by the dozens (if you are one of her friends on MySpace, you know this already). I know it's an age when you are trying to figure out exactly where you fit in. Last weekend, I made her take the Myers-Briggs personality test. I took it 18 years ago, and taking it again, I'm still an INFJ. Molly is an ESFP; Jesse's an ENFJ, and Doogie is an ESTP. It's a fun test to take if you never have seen it before. The questions seem simple, but the results are scary true. I've read articles debunking it, but I've never found anything else that so accurately nails my personality. An INFJ is a counselor archetype, political activists, people who see the hurt and pain in the world and want to do something to change it. Ghandi, Mother Theresa, and Martin Luther King Jr were INFJ's (according to some sites, because they didn't take the tests themselves, you'll find them listed under other types depending on which site you're on). It essentially means that I'm introverted, trust my intuition, feel rather than think, and I tend to use my judgment. I always thought that my weepiness was genetic, but reading the description helped me to see that it's just part of feeling other people's pain. Jesse and I are almost the same, but he is extroverted. Molly and Doogie are very different than I am, in fact, Doogie is my total opposite. Reading through the descriptions of the personalities helps me understand them better. It makes me want to hand the test out to everyone I know so I can get their type and understand them as well. Go ahead and take it, it only takes about five minutes. I'm throwing in a few links to other interesting sites that offer more information about the types.

Home to Holly Springs by Jan Karon is the first book in the Father Tim series. This book picks up shortly after the last Mitford book, Light From Heaven. Seventy year old Father Tim Kavanaugh has received a mysterious letter from his childhood home of Holly Springs, Mississippi saying simply: Come home. He left 38 years ago in anger and pain, but the letter haunts him and puts him on a 600 mile road trip to solve the mystery of the letter and bring healing to life-long wounds. First off, I've read a few reviews trashing this book for its coincidences and other trivial complaints, but what the readers are really upset about is that this isn't a Mitford book. While Cynthia and Dooley make appearances, this book is really about Father Tim becoming reconciled to his past. The storytelling is quite different than the Mitford books: in depth character study as opposed to sweet hometown dramedy. There are still quirky characters galore and Tim's honest faith and belief in the Lord. I really enjoyed reading this book. The dialog is terrific and perfect for the slow as molasses Southern feel of the book. Anyone who has read the Mitford series is familiar with Tim's anger toward his father. Here we begin to understand why Tim is so angry, but also why his father was who he was. Many mysteries are cleared up, but many more opportunities for storylines are opened. Yes, the coincidences run heavy, but God does tend to work that way sometimes. I was able to take all of them except for the final one involving Tommy Noles. My only other complaint: why on earth did Karon feel the need to give two people in Tim's past the same first name?? Two Peggy's makes for some awkward reading on occasion. There is one humorous editing error: Instead of saying that Cynthia was cleared to drive, it reads that she was clear to drink, making the rest of the sentence about her driving all over Memphis worth an unintentional giggle. Read this book with an open mind and don't expect Mitford. You won't be disappointed.

I'm going to be reading Longfellow's The Courtship of Miles Standish for my Thanksgiving read. Do you have any suggestions of other classic books that would be appropriate for the season?


Anonymous said...

there's a great free resource at

Roxanne said...

Thanks for the review. I went looking for some very quickly today and yours is what I found. I loved the Mitford books, but teach middle school and thereby spend most of my time reading literature aimed at that age group. I wanted to grab a new book just for me this weekend.