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Title: Only Children Chase Sawdust
Author: Willowy Whisper
Synopsis: Their whole life turned to sawdust and blew away . . .
Please don’t leave me, Jacob. I need you. I know you’re grieving. Maybe we all are. But you’re chasing something you’ll never catch . . . and we both know you won’t come back alive. (Taken from Goodreads)
This was quite a read, and certainly unlike anything else I’ve read before. Willowy Whisper’s unique writing style came through as always, while still retaining a fresh feel. The storyline was captivating, and descriptive writing pulled me right into the action. I was enthralled by the characters and the plot alike.
It was a very cute story in a lot of ways, yet in a lot of ways, it was as far from “cute” as you can get—I don’t exactly think of violent massacres as cute—but still, the romance and the ending tied together in a sweet way, tying into the title of course.
Annie and her struggle are so delicate, so raw, so real. She was easily my favorite character. I liked the way the preacher’s subplot found its way in. I hated Obadiah Clark with passion.
I thought the thematic elements, at their heart, were good for the most part. For a while, I wasn’t sure exactly what point the author was trying to make when Jacob is off trying to save souls at the expense of losing his relationship with his wife—whether he was ridiculous or if he was spot-on. (In the end it was determined that he was spot-on, something I’m not sure I agree with completely.)
Unfortunately…to be honest, I would have to say that I am a little disappointed. I understand the story concept and I love the heart behind it…a missionary to the Indians…I absolutely love the heart behind it, don’t get me wrong. However, the way it was delivered was, in my opinion, very cringeworthy at times. I wish we could have spent more time with Akando and understood him, loved him, before witnessing his sudden conversion to Christianity. Same with the rest of the clan. And Obadiah’s deathbed…don’t even get me started.
I love my God. I love spreading His words. It’s my passion and my desire in life. But I’m also a firm believer in the fact that you don’t need a gospel presentation in a book for it to be Christian and to be powerful. I actually think the opposite: except for few exceptions, for the most part, a book laced with conversion stories and salvation is going to drive the unbeliever away. Especially in the case of a short book like this; there simply isn’t enough time in 100 pages to truly develop that, to make it feel real. That said, with the 100 pages the author was ‘given’, so to speak, she did a good job with; it just felt way too rushed. As realistic or as probable as some of these experiences may be, there were too rushed and as a result just seemed really cheesy to me. Due to this, I was disappointed. Willowy’s other books are so beautifully subtle in their Christian themes, creating powerful stories, and I was let down that this one wasn’t as much.
I also disliked the portrayal that it was necessary for him to leave Annie in order to do this. I think some people will read that as Christianity means you let down those closest to you for the sake of souls, which is a glaring misconception. I don’t think that was the author’s intent in any way—I think she meant to instead demonstrate the power of our faith—but I was dismayed at the prospect that it had the potential to come off that way.
Yet, besides this, there was still a lot I liked; I appreciated the heart behind it and I did love the characters. The book as a whole, with its whole Indian-murder thing and romance tied in, was unique and different, as a typical Willowy novel is. Her style is so clearly apparent from page one it’d be imposible to deny, from the writing to the murder-mystery-feel to the intriguing romance, that she penned this book. And don’t get me wrong: aside from some negatives, it was not a bad book by any stretch.
Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
** I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**