Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Miscarriage of Justice

Yesterday my former mother-in-law passed away. It was not a shock to the family; she's been sick for years with diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and recently she's been having strokes. All of this at the age of 56. Christmas has changed irrevokably for my older two children. For the rest of their lives, they will associate the season with their grandmother's death. Sue always reminded me of Roseanne Barr. She could make you cry with her sharp words and laugh with her quick wit, sometimes both at once. Last night I picked up the kids after school so their dad could make the funeral arrangements and found myself thanking God for the ability to be there for them. Before I even picked them up, I was having to choke back tears. Not for myself, but for them. Doogie handles everything with such stoicism that it's difficult to tell how he's really feeling. Molly is much more verbal and open, but when we got home, she secluded herself away from the rest of the family. This is the first truly close death they've had to face, and to face it at Christmas seems overly harsh. Doogie asked me on the way to school this morning what kind of sick God lets people die right before Christmas. I posed this question to our pastor this morning, and her response was wonderful: Our loving God. No matter when she died, her family was going to mourn and ache, but because God took her now, she isn't suffering anymore and has no more pain. God answered our prayers for Sue by taking her home and healing her.

Miscarriage of Justice by Kip Gayden is the story of Anna And Walter Dotson in 1913 Tennessee. Walter is a successful physician, Bible study leader, alderman for the city of Gallatin, Mason, and leader of the city orchestra. Anna is the lovely mother of their two children who keeps her days busy with the social functions required of the wife of a pillar of the community. She also spends time flirting with the cause of woman's suffrage and the new barber in town: Charlie Cobb. Gayden weaves together historical fact with logical conjecture to create a fantastic story of how a crime in a small town in Tennessee helped shape the future of the nation. Anna's flirtation with Charlie leaps into full blown adultery, with both spouses left in the dark. Gayden describes the attraction of forbidden liasons with flair and emotion. He makes Anna's descent into lust as believable as her guilt over the double life she finds herself living. Gayden uses reporter Paul Christian as the reader's objective eye in the story, and as we hear the story filtered through him, it becomes not only believable but enthralling. The crime is shocking; the verdict even more so. Gayden introduced suffrage as a major story element in the opening chapters, but that line drops off until suddenly popping up in the jury room when the ties between the crime and suffrage become clear, and with a masterful stroke Gayden makes his case that this long forgotten crime of passion helped give women the right to vote in America. By fictionalizing the portions of the book, Gayden brings Anna and the rest of the cast to life, and you can't help but ache for her. My one and only complaint is a small one: I would have liked pictures of the principals to be included in the book. I hope that Gayden takes my advice for his next book, which I look forward to reading!

Today's picture is of Mia in the church Christmas pageant on Sunday. She was an angel, and you've never seen a child so in love with her wings! She flapped them all the way down the aisle and kept turning around on the dais to show them off.