Friday, October 20, 2017

Book Review: Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night

Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night. Barbara J. Taylor. 2014. 320 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Grace lay in bed, listening to Violet mill about the kitchen, but for what? Breakfast, that was it. Something to eat before heading off on the first day of school. "I'm her mother," Grace murmured. "Her mother," she repeated, pushing herself up, swinging one leg onto the floor and then the other.

Premise/plot: If grief tears a family apart, what can bring a family together? Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night opens in September 1913 in a small mining town in Pennsylvania. Readers meet a family that is broken; it has been two months since the family's last tragedy. Daisy Morgan, just nine, died on the 4th of July--a fireworks accident. Violet, her 8 year old sister, was the only witness, and, for whatever reason the mother--and some of the busybodies--blame Violet for Daisy's death. Owen, the father, has turned to drinking; breaking his temperance pledge. Grace finds companionship in the arms of another--Grief. Grief has been her one constant friend and companion for years. Grief has seen her through many tragedies and losses. But does Grief have an agenda?! Is Grief telling her the truth?

Readers spend time with Grace, Owen, and especially Violet. The novel covers a little under a year. One of the big "events" of the novel is the preparation and arrival of revivalist, Billy Sunday. But there are plenty of small happenings as well. One really gets a chance to know the community. Much like you do with the musical Music Man.

Why bring up The Music Man? Perhaps because of the close-knit busybody community of churchgoers. Interspersed throughout the novel, we get a collective snapshot from their point of view--they speak as one. Almost like a chorus in a tragedy on stage.

My thoughts: I really found this to be a quick and compelling read. I always bring home a large stack of books from the library. Some books never get a proper chance. They sit. In a pile. Until they are due back. I started this book--an impulse pick--the day I got it from the library. I read it in two days. I found it to be incredible in terms of characterization and storytelling.

If character-driven novels make your day, this is a must read, in my opinion.

Favorite quote: You can relive a moment again and again and again. But you can't change it. That's the tragedy of time. (78)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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