A third of the way into this book I was liking the story well enough, but I was feeling the characters were just a bit too nice. Their ease with each other and their problems, their lack of negative reactions and mistakes, their ability to love and take care of each other, while good, didn't seem to provide enough conflict and drama for a moving story. I was underwhelmed.

Another third of the way through and I realized my feelings had changed. I became aware that every time I read a portion of the book my mood improved. I felt more general happiness, more easily accepted hardship, and thought more often of my loved ones. I felt more love.

Don't think that means the book is free of conflict, hardship, anger, and fear, or that the characters don't suffer and hurt each other. They are believably real people dealing with more than their share of tragedy. It's just that those characters also know how to take care of each other. They are extraordinary in their ability to be vulnerable and to love, particularly protagonist Salvador. And that makes this book particularly affecting by example.

This is an introspective story with a more leisurely pace than many. It's not necessarily one I would call "clean" or devoid of rough content, but it's definitely one I would call positive. Without any saccharine elements or forced optimism or anything didactic, this story gently demonstrates how to become a better, more wholehearted person.

JCLChrisK's rating:
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