Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Gracious Plenty

by Sheri Reynolds

This is a spare little novel about a woman who is disfigured by burns as a child and grows up isolated from the community. Finch Nobles continues her family business, a cemetery, and spends all her time taking care of the cemetery and talking with the dead. I really enjoyed the idea that the dead don’t go straight to heaven (or elsewhere) but spend time on earth assisting the elements with tasks such as greening the ivy, plumping the tomatoes, bringing rain showers and helping the sun rise. While performing these tasks the dead gradually tell their stories, work out issues and eventually lighten and fade away to who knows where. Finch can hear and see this world of the dead and tries to help one of the dead with her relationship with her mother which results in Finch getting into all sorts of trouble with the world of the living. By the end of the book Finch’s involvement with the dead results in her becoming once again involved in the world of the living.

This was a very quick read and I enjoyed it but didn’t love it. The males that I know that have read it said it was women-y and Oprah-y, whatever that means. I found it very preachy at times and heavy handed with its message. I enjoyed learning about the world of the dead and didn’t really mind the cute love interest story line but the ending just seemed ridiculous. Not one of my favorite reads of this year.

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