Saturday, January 24, 2009

By Reason of Insanity

I love watching my kids grow up. It's fascinating to see them become someone completely different than you and yet have bits and pieces of you at the same time. Mia has a huge heart full of compassion. That's not something I could have taught her, so it's a gift of her own, and I love to see it at work. Yesterday I took the kids to see my Uncle Howard. And thank God, he is doing so much better! When we got there, he was awake and aware of us. He reached out to hold my hand and waved at the kids. He still had all of the tubes down his throat, so he couldn't talk at all, but he expressed himself through frowns and smiles. I talked to him about what the kids were doing in school and their lives while holding his hand. Mia stood right next to me at his bedside the entire time with a big smile on her face. She reached out to hold his hand and talked to him without any fear. Doogie is no fan of hospitals, so he only stayed in the room in a few minutes, and Molly and her boyfriend left shortly after. I don't blame them one bit. Watching someone you love in that condition is incredibly difficult, and they didn't know Howard that well, so in some ways he is a stranger to them. Mia refused to leave with them. She wanted to be with him. When we said good-bye, he reached out for her and cradled her cheek in his hand. It was hard to keep the tears back watching the two of them together. Without a word from him and only a few from her, an incredibly amount love passed between them.

After some more shopping, Mia, Doogie, and I went to see the movie Hotel for Dogs. It was a cute movie but was a little mature for Mia. The two main characters are foster children, and at one point, all of the dogs are taken away and the children are separated. Mia was so upset, she was ready to leave the theater and go right home. At first, I was a little frustrated so I cuddled her close to me and tried to explain what was going on, but then it hit me that what I had witnessed from her in the hospital room was evident again in the theater. Mia was feeling a deep empathy with the characters and the pain was overwhelming her. I whispered that sometimes we have to go through sad times in order to have happy times again. She kept her head buried in my lap for awhile, but as the mood of the movie picked up, so did she, and by the end, she was her normal bubbly self again. I can't help but wonder what plans God has in store for her and her heart.

By Reason of Insanity by Randy Singer is an astounding and compelling novel. I read a lot of books within a year, and something that many authors try to pull off is the shock ending. If it's done well, the entire book benefits from it, and the reader walks away from the book amazed and impressed by the author. If the author fails, the reader feels completely betrayed and played by the author. Either way, it's the kind of book that a reader tells their friends about. By Reason of Insanity is one of those books. Cat O'Rourke is a journalist in Virginia Beach who has been sent to cover a high profile murder in Las Vegas being defended by Quinn Newberg, a slick lawyer trying to save his sister, Annie's, life. Annie killed her husband in self-defense after facing years of his abuse. Quinn uses the insanity defense to free her, and instead ends up with a hung jury and a mistrial. When Cat returns home to Virginia, a mysterious Avenger of Blood starts murdering rapists who were never convicted and the lawyers who freed them. Cat starts covering the story as a matter of her work, but the story quickly becomes personal when she begins having visions of the crime and then becomes the prime suspect. Cat calls Quinn for help with her defense when even she starts to doubt her own innocence. Singer is a hugely talented author, and I am a huge fan, so I expected good things before I even cracked the cover of this book. But Singer pulls off the near impossible by keeping the reader wondering about Cat's innocence (without manipulating or lying to the reader), and then pulls off an ending that literally made my jaw drop...twice! This is the kind of book that if you have a friend who doesn't read Christian fiction because they don't think the writing is as good quality as regular fiction, you need to give them this book. Singer never proselytizes or preaches, and the writing is spot on, as good as it gets.

The hospital is weaning Howard off of the ventilator today, so they have limited the amount of visitors to him. I'm planning on seeing him again on Tuesday. Baby Tristan is still in the hospital too, and his parents are hoping to take him home Monday or Tuesday, so please pray for his health as well.