by: Kent Haruf
“Benediction- the utterance of a blessing, an invocation of blessedness.”
I joined a book group with my mom at our church a few years ago. I love to read and I figured this would stretch my views and genres that I would pick up to read. I know as a group we did one of this authors other books but I cant remember if it was one that I read with the group or not. I always try to read with the group and finish the book but sometimes that is a hard task for me to complete. I set 2 goals for myself this year, one was to not buy any new books and the other was to complete 50 book. I went to my local library and checked out this book so that I could participate in the group. When I read the summary of the book I knew from that start that it would be a book that I would like. I was RIGHT! The book was amazing it was the thoughts, feelings and doings of the people and town around the main character as he said his final good byes. The line quoted is from the beginning of the book. I read this line before starting the book and just felt a sense of peace. In a church service you say/do a benediction at the end of the service so to me it is the final goodbye and go out to serve the Lord. With this book to me it was the closing of his life. The sending out into the heavens for the years or his life. I thought this book was beautifully written and I would recommend it to others.
Synopsis from Amazon:
When Dad Lewis is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he and his wife, Mary, must work together to make his final days as comfortable as possible. Their daughter, Lorraine, hastens back from Denver to help look after him; her devotion softens the bitter absence of their estranged son, Frank, but this cannot be willed away and remains a palpable presence for all three of them. Next door, a young girl named Alice moves in with her grandmother and contends with the painful memories that Dad’s condition stirs up of her own mother’s death. Meanwhile, the town’s newly arrived preacher attempts to mend his strained relationships with his wife and teenaged son, a task that proves all the more challenging when he faces the disdain of his congregation after offering more than they are accustomed to getting on a Sunday morning. And throughout, an elderly widow and her middle-aged daughter do everything they can to ease the pain of their friends and neighbors.
Despite the travails that each of these families faces, together they form bonds strong enough to carry them through the most difficult of times. Bracing, sad and deeply illuminating, Benediction captures the fullness of life by representing every stage of it, including its extinction, as well as the hopes and dreams that sustain us along the way. Here Kent Haruf gives us his most indelible portrait yet of this small town and reveals, with grace and insight, the compassion, the suffering and, above all, the humanity of its inhabitants.
Love and Peace