Mar 03, 2020merritr rated this title 4 out of 5 stars
This entire book consists of a journal or notebook written by an aging reverend, John Ames, to his seven year-old son, whom I don’t remember ever being named. It was clear throughout the narrative that Ames loved his son immensely, and that he was intimately aware that he would die too early in his son’s life for his son to have deep, colorful memories of him. So this journal, these writings, were to make up for that, in a sense.
In passing on his legacy and memory to his son in the form of a journal, Ames shared most of the stories that made him who he was, and how they shaped him, any regrets or mined wisdom from each, etc. Ames’ family, especially his grandfather, was involved pretty heavily in the abolition movement in Iowa and Kansas in the mid to late 1860s, and hearing Ames recount some of those stories was one of my favorite parts of this book. But it definitely didn’t play a central role in the story. The friendship Ames had with a neighbor and fellow reverend was moving, and I wish Robinson would write another story in this friendship in particular. The next books in the series may get into that - fingers crossed.
I am often highly, umm, apprehensive of Christian churches in the US, so I’m glad I chose this book before finding out who the narrator was. I chose this book because of the excitement of the Book Riot podcast hosts when they heard a fourth and final installment of this series is due out in late 2020. That, and Robinson won a Pulitzer in 2005 for it. There wasn’t a lot of action in the story, which is fine by me. The narrator was a very pensive individual, and this book mirrors that. Reverend Ames was a very compelling and likeable character/narrator, brimming with love, wisdom, grace, and humanity. Many of the supporting characters were also compelling in different ways, and I can’t wait to read Robinson’s next installments.