Friday, September 16, 2011
Book Review for Where Love Once Lived by Sid Frost
Karen, a grade school teacher, is taking her class outside to a book mobile. The book mobile is a new development started by the city to provide library books to people who otherwise cannot access them. The children are excited about getting in the big “library bus” and browsing the different books offered.
Karen, on the other hand, is experiencing painful emotions brought on by sad memories from another bookmobile. Or rather the man who ran the bookmobile. This was the man she was supposed to marry and live happily ever after with. The man who broke her heart.
Years ago while Karen and Brian were in college, they became seriously involved. So seriously that Karen knew it was a matter of time before Brian proposed. With every expectation of this pleasant outcome, Karen said goodbye to Brian as he left for a brief visit to his parents in California. Except Brian never came back. Instead, on that visit he met and married another woman. Grief stricken, Karen spent years burying the pain.
Now years later, standing outside another bookmobile Karen finds herself thinking of the years lost that haven't diminished her grief. The grief that carries a secret that no one but Karen knows: that she carried and lost her and Brian's baby.
As Karen relives her past, she comes to the back of the bookmobile and gasps. In front of her is a man, now in his fifties, that she hasn't seen since he deserted her all those years ago. It's Brian.
Brian has been paying for a sin he committed for the last thirty years. Saying good bye to the woman he intended to marry, he left to visit his parents then come back and propose to Karen. What he hadn't planned to do was get seduced by the most popular girl he knew in high school, have a one night stand with her, and get her pregnant. Out of a sense of honor, he married this woman and, without any explanation, never returned to Austin, Texas and his true love.
His daughter now grown, Brian is divorced from a woman he never loved. He has returned to capture the heart of the woman he always had wanted to marry. Except, she has no intention of marrying him. Her anger and bitterness boils up against him and overflows.
On top of everything else, there's another secret that is being kept from Brian by the woman he chose to marry out of his sense of duty.
The story could be best summed up as a maze. Two people are at opposite sides of the maze and are working their way through all the turns and dead ends in hopes of meeting each other in the middle. Except instead of paths and twist and turns, the barriers are misconceptions, mistrust; stories left untold and the need to forgive another person's betrayal and abandonment.
When reading the book, I saw a number of interesting situations arise that made this book relevant to me.
Firstly, as a divorced, single mom. I felt the pain and ignominy Karen suffered from being divorced (she also eventually marries and later divorces a man who is unfaithful to her). Karen summed up the feelings I've suffered from for many years.
Her friend Cathy tells her:
“Alone? Listen, you'll always have me. You have many friends. The whole church loves you.”
“The whole church,” Karen said. “Like at lunch every Sunday? All paired up. They never notice me, the divorcee slash loser slash nobody.”
Boy, do I know what that feels like.
Do these things happen in real life? You bet your sweet bippy they do! And when they happen what do we do about it? How do we respond when the one we've given our hearts to cheats on us? How do we respond when they separate themselves from us for years? What do we do when they want to reenter our lives?
What's the right thing to do?
In the book, Where Love Once Lived, Sid Frost explores these themes and, at least for Karen and Brian, come up with a particular resolution which, on the one hand may not be appropriate for everyone, on the other hand, models a Godly mandate of forgiveness that is applicable to each and every one of us.
In addition to the value of a Godly message that is timely in our broken down world, Mr. Frost writes a good story with interesting characters. I found his book very easy and quick to read because he had me going to the very end.
I received a free copy of “Where Love Once Lived” by the author in exchange for my honest review.