Friday, October 11, 2013
WHAT I CAME TO TELL YOU By Tommy Hays
I loved Grover's story. He's a likable character and so is his sister, Sudie. Their mom was recently struck and killed by a car. The kids are struggling to deal with their mom's death and with how it has affected their father. He's grown distant, prone to anger, and neglectful.
To cope with his guilt about the accident, Grover spends every spare minute in the bamboo forest weaving tapestries out of bamboo, leaves, and branches. He spends so much time weaving that he neglects his best friend, Sam, and lets his grades slide.
There are so many wonderful things about this novel. The setting is one of my favorite places, Asheville, North Carolina. The book has a cozy feel to it as Grover's family builds roaring fires, prepares a Thanksgiving meal, and hunkers down during a snow storm. I marked several passages on my Kindle because of the sacred truths they reveal. My favorite scene takes place between Grover and Matthew, the college student whose car struck Grover's mom. The book's title even comes from this scene. "What I came to tell you is this," Matthew said. "Sometimes things just happen." That's a simple, but profound truth. "When terrible things happen we want to blame somebody, even if that somebody is us. But what if nobody is to blame?"
My favorite line in WHAT I CAME TO TELL YOU is the last one. Sudie acknowledges that their father has been distant, she calls it away. "But it's all right," she said, taking Grover's hand. "my brother's been here the whole time." We could all use a brother like Grover.
To read an excerpt from this book and for more information, go to Tommy Hays's website.