Monday, March 23, 2015

The Boy Who Loved Rain by Gerard Kelly

Rain and its various temperaments and properties were an interesting metaphor for this story.  Just like rain coming down and rippling out in puddles, this story centers on Colum and the ripples emanating from his increasingly disturbing behavior. Behavior that no pastor's kid should be exhibiting.  Colum's mom, Fiona, is desperate to find help for her son but her husband insists that it can be handled within the church (i.e. by consulting a friend who never married and has no children).
How much more trouble does Colum need to get into before Dad wakes up to the crisis?

I have to admit that I really did not care for Colum's father.  What kind of arrogant fool just keeps insisting on maintaining his public, polished, unruffled image while letting his son and wife fall deeper into despair?  The father is definitely a control freak: controlling image, emotions, and sadly, his family's future. I felt like his control held his family hostage because dad could not admit that their family needed help.

Colum is an adolescent plagued with problems at school and increasingly at home as he withdraws into himself. The ripples belie the otherwise calm sea of family life for his pastor father and dutiful mother. When a classmate kills himself, the police suspect that Colum may have either encouraged him or was toying with the same fate.

Even after a suicide contract is found signed by Colum, his dad will not seek help.  So Fiona takes matters into her own hands with the help of a friend from college, Miriam.  Given the husband's refusal to seek professional help, I did not find her actions all that extreme.  When it comes to life and death, the rules of engagement definitely have to change.  I admired her courage for seeing that.

They head to France and stay in Miriam's childhood home. I found it a bit sad (but predictable) that the father didn't call or try to follow them.  He was a rather weak and pathetic character throughout. The change of scenery, pace of life and an objective outsider willing to listen and befriend Colum all create just the environment that brings about healing. But not without a few scares along the way.

As Colum slowly begins to trust Miriam, he shares stories of his childhood that have given him nightmares.  Events he doesn't fully understand and about which his mother remains silent. And more alarming, Miriam discovers evidence of self-harming behaviors--something his mom knows nothing about.

Woven throughout the story are the thoughts of someone in a great deal of pain. The reader is left wondering if the thoughts belong to Colum?  Fiona?  Miriam?  The pain and confusion expressed could apply to just about anyone. Those internal glimpses are very poignant and keep the reader in suspense until the end of the book.

Other people Fiona and Colum meet in France have baggage of their own. One man who paints, struggled with alcohol and returned to France to make amends for his wasted youth. Miriam has had her own struggles and finally, when all seems lost, the truth so long buried finally comes to light.  But is there still time to save Colum from himself?  Read The Boy Who Loved Rain to find out!

The book can be purchased directly from Kregel Publications. You can also read an excerpt before you buy.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of The Boy Who Loved Rain from Kregel Publications for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received.

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