I finished Blue Calhoun last night, and I ended up fairly satisfied with the whole experience despite the desperate situations portrayed. I acknowledge that I am perhaps irrationally fearful of my children being abused in some fashion; what parent doesn't consider such atrocities with trembling heart? So, maybe I'm no more uncomfortable than others, but I really have a hard time with fictional accounts of child sexual abuse. And that kind of abuse encircles this entire novel. From about halfway through, I had figured out what had happened with Lyn's father (minus the particulars, of course), but knowing it was coming didn't make it a lot easier. What did help is that we really didn't know Lyn that well other than as the recipient of this "letter." In fact, until the very end, we didn't know how old she was or what she had experienced much at all. The not knowing her helped us not to feel her pain quite so deeply. But I was, in the end, pleased with Blue and who he turned out to be. You can't call this a "coming of age" novel because the narrative voice was well of age when he started out, but he does manage to grow through the telling of his tale. Most of us do, I think.
I waited until daylight to consider what would be next, and the first opportunity came today at lunchtime. Chloe and I were finishing up, so I asked her what she thought I should read. She promptly hopped down from her stool and joined me at the TBR shelves. Her first choice? War and Peace. And though I love Tolstoy, I'm in the mood to make quick work of some reading right now. War and Peace is such a long-term relationship. Since I shunned the largest book on the shelf, she made the next logical assumption and chose the smallest book on the shelf: The Lotus and The Cross: Jesus Talks with Buddha by Ravi Zacharias. I bought this book at Christmastime as part of Amazon's famous 4-for-3 deals, and I'm interested to see what it has to teach me about Buddhism from a Christian perspective. I continue to be intrigued (although unable to implement it into my life thus far) with the concept of meditation as a way to hear God's still, small voice, so I think this conversation should be a good one. As a companion to that book, purchased at the same time, I have Therese of Lisieux's Simply Surrender and might make that a bit of an effort after I "listen" to Buddha and Jesus chat it up. Sounds promising.