Monday, January 25, 2010


The other there was a short story about an unusual rescue during the torrential rainfalls and mudslides in California. A dog had gotten washed into the Los Angeles River and couldn't climb out, so a helicopter dropped in a firefighter to rescue the poor animal. The dog was successfully rescued, is doing fine and has been named Lucky. The firefighter is recovering from the bites he received from it in its fear.

We tend to hear stories like this during natural disasters, and they give me hope for humanity. This is why: in a another country, one that doesn't value life, a dog like that would be left to die. Think about Communist Russia. Money would not be wasted on the rescue of a stray dog. But here in the US, while we may complain about rising taxes and plummeting stocks, when a dog is at risk of drowning, we send in the troops to save it and then hundreds of people will often line up waiting to adopt it.

I believe that we do this because of the message that God gave us all the way back in Genesis, to take care of the earth and everything in it. Even those who don't believe in God often feel the need to care for the helpless and needy, both human and animal. It's part of our genetic make-up to want to take care of the earth. Now there are plenty of people who push that need aside and aren't just willing to let helpless dogs drown, but to end the lives of humans they feel are living unproductive lives. I pray for them.

But in watching that video, I was proud that in this country where it often seems to crime to speak of God or faith, in a crisis, doesn't leave anyone behind, not even animals. It's something to consider.

by Kristin Bair O'Keefe is historical fiction that resonates with today's reader. "I am unhappy. I despise my husband. I settled in ways I'd never planned. I am not honest. All my life I've shared in lies. I lied to my children, told them this world was good and kind despite their father's cruelty," words from Klara, the main character of this stunning debut novel. Klara leaves Croatia in 1883 at the age of sixteen and marries Drago to escape the fists of her father and the never-ending care of her five siblings. They come to American looking for a better life and instead find Thirsty, Pennsylvania, a coal mining town that seems colored in shades of mustard yellow, black, and red and free of any beauty. Klara and Drago's marriage quickly falls into the pattern of Klara's parents: screams, abuse, black eyes and bloody noses. Into this dark world, Klara brings three children, including daughter Sky who eventually continues the family tradition of violent marriage. The novel follows over thirty years of Klara's life as she faces death, loss, and grief beyond imagine. O'Keefe's voice is bruising in its brutal honesty about the legacy of familial abuse, but she leaves the reader breathless and with just a hint of hope for the fate of Sky's daughters. This is a novel that just won't let the reader go even with the turn of the final page.

Thank you to Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists for providing me with a copy of this book for review!