Posted by: Genny Colby | February 7, 2014

What I am Reading Friday…

A slow week, and with the Olympics starting this weekend, probably another slow week ahead.  Who knew that snow boarding could be so cool to watch???

This week I finished The Returned by Jason Mott.  This is the first in a proposed trilogy and the basis for a new television series.  What happens when those that have died, return?  Not as zombies, or the undead, but as living, breathing, thinking, feeling beings, the same as when the passed away?  At the heart of this book, it is a story about people, how they react to events, how they find answers to tough questions, how they deal with tragedy.  At the core, every character has lost someone they love and has had to deal with the death.  Everyone handles death in different ways so how the handle the return of loved one is different.

There are so many questions…Why do they return?  How do they return?  Why do some return and not others?  What does it all  mean?  And where do they go when they “disappear” again?  This book honestly does not answer any of these questions, but allows each of the different characters to seek their own answers about what these “Returned” mean to them.

Set in the small town of Arcadia, a town time and the rest of the world has forgotten, we meet Harold and Lucille,  an elderly couple who lost their only son back in 1966.  Then one day, he appears on their doorstep.  Both Harold and Lucille have to decide what this means to them, who is this boy, and why has he been returned to them now?  At the same time, the rest of the world is struggling with those same questions, as well as what to do with this population that is growing each day?

This is an interesting look at people and how they react to death and life.  The characters are interesting enough, if not slightly 2-dimensional.  I felt that this book left a lot of questions unanswered…did anyone check the graves of those returned to see if they were empty?  Was everyone who returned buried or had any of them been cremated? (I know, rather morbid and disturbing ideas but we are talking about people who were dead..)   It also seemed that after the confrontation in Arcadia, the governments just quietly backed away from the whole thing.  Why?  Because the returned started to fade away on their own?  The government also seemed less concerned with WHY this was happening and more about “what did these people remember about being dead” which had a much more “churchy” feel to it than I would expect from the government.   Maybe some of these questions will be addressed in coming books.

Overall, this is a decent book, different from other books out there, with a theme that makes you stop and think.   The writing is fine, nothing awe-inspiring, but nothing glaring awful either!  It’s not a complex book, though it certainly has the chance to go that direction.  It is not overly religious, though obviously religion and one’s own beliefs are a part of the story.  This book felt like a teaser…this is the world I am creating…just tip your toes in and get a feel for it…because then we are really going to shake things up.  At least I hope that is what is going to happen!

I am still making my way through Parenting Beyond Belief  and after this weeks Creation vs Evolution debate and subsequent articles, this book is really resonating more with me about our family and the values and morals and ideals with which we hope to instill in our children.

Since I finished my fiction book, I was excited to pick up The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.  I am hoping it is as amazing of a book as everyone has raved and that it is in fact a “can’t put this book down” kind of book for me.  I am really in need of one of those!

So…what are you reading this week, or will you be spending most of your time watching the Olympics?  I can’t wait to show the Monkey the bobsled competitions!


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