Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow

Fall is my favorite season of the year; it just seems to me that the world is so full of color and variety. Everywhere I look is a visual treat. Yesterday was dark, windy, and gloomy, but today is bright and sunny. Monday I took a bunch of pictures of our grape arbor. Jesse's mom is going to make some jelly, but until she picks them, they make such a picturesque scene. The pictures practically take themselves.

I love the camera that Jesse bought me; it was such a sweet gesture from him. I bought myself a new camera a couple of years ago, but then was so disappointed with the quality. It didn't have a decent zoom, and no matter what setting I used, the pictures always came out fuzzy. He just stopped on the way home from work one night and brought home a camera I never could have justified buying for myself, and honestly it intimidated me at first with all of the settings. But then when we went camping, Krissy, my sister-in-law, demonstrated the different settings so I could stop using automatic all of the time.

Since then I find myself looking at the world with through the camera lens. I'm always thinking about what may make a great shot, and while I'm not very good at it, I'm definitely getting better, and it's a new hobby that I absolutely love.

The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow by Joyce Magnin is a masterful novel about the power of unconfessed sin. Griselda has devoted her life to taking care of her obese sister, Agnes. Agnes has devoted her life to taking care of the town of Bright's Pond. Her prayers have become so famous for bringing miracles in the small town that its residents are preparing to erect a sign outside city limits advertising it as the "Home of Agnes Sparrow." But Agnes has never wanted publicity, and no matter how hard she tries, they refuse to see the answered prayers as the work of God, but instead of as the acts of Agnes. When a new man moves to town looking for a miracle from Agnes, the town will be forever changed. Magnin has created in Bright's Pond a vibrant and fascinating small town. She never reverts to stereotypes, although there is plenty of quirkiness. Griselda's character is really the heart of the novel, and the character feels frustration, betrayal, outrage, and hope right along with her due to Magnin's wonderful portrayal. The story takes a distinctly unexpected turn giving it added depth and heart. Magnin is definitely a writer I have put on my must read list.

I'm giving away two Karen Kingsbury children's books this week: The Princess and the Three Knights and We Believe in Christmas. There is still plenty of time to enter; just send me an email before 10 pm on Thursday, October 1st. I'll announce the winner here on Friday.