Matt always felt fearful and doomed after listening to one of those sermons. Like there was no hope for a real life at all.
So yes, starting this book was just as I expected. Dan Skinner pulled on my emotions something terribly last month with Memorizing You, so what was I to expect from a book about two boys trapped in a living hell that masked itself as religion...as God's word? Where our sweet Matt was disciplined for the slightest indiscretion.
...But he that loveth him corrected him. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and deliver his soul from hell.
Thomas Moore was very fond of delivering Matt's soul from hell.
“I can’t even tell you when I first started to hate the church. It seemed like I always sensed something was off about it. Something that didn’t feel right. And when I started getting beatings all the time for even the littlest things, I realized that I didn’t only hate the church, I was hating them. I was hating my folks. I figured out that my home was a prison and they were the warden and guard. That I wasn’t living life. I was serving time for the crime of being born to them."
My heart was breaking already.
But what I did not expect was the HOPE...the DISCOVERY...and the absolute NATURAL love that took hold of these two boys. There was no angst, only sheer love and hope for something more.
Caleb is an absolutely beautiful character who shows Matt a different perspective through nature...
Carefully, he plucked a wildflower and held it before his eyes. The bee still buzzed around it. “This is real magic. It’s greater than angels and all that other nonsense because it’s real. You can see it, hear it and know what it’s doing. What this bee takes from the flower, it turns into honey that we can spread on our toast, taste it and say: ‘Yum!’” He gently handed the flower to Matt so he could watch the bee up close.
Matt knew. His world had changed in a matter of hours. He knew for the first time ever that someone existed who actually cared for him. That he cared for him, too. It had been a natural, irresistible force that brought the two of them together.
Without expectation, love had found him.
My only negative really was the abrupt ending. Was I dis-satisfied with the end...no, but my Kindle showed 86% when the words "The End" appeared...sad really.
The beauty though, is that Dan has created a story where we as readers can see the what next. We can envision the hopeful future that lies ahead for these two beautiful loving "heroes". My mind likes what it sees.
*photograph by Dan Skinner