K. Gregory-Fiala

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Exquisite, humorous, though-provoking experience

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-27-05

In this collection of letters to his young son, the voice of Rev. John Ames, mesmerizes us. To this boy he leaves his last treasures .. the family story, the story of the town Gilead, his observations of life, friendship, society, history, rural life, the nature of love, jealousy, and friendship, the reconciliation of fears and disappointments.. and his steadfast faith in God, and the role that faith plays in Rev. Ame's life. Woven into all this are several amazing tales of adventure, and quite a bit of subtle humor.

The reason for the letter is Rev.Ames's failing health. He wants to leave an account of himself for this son who will never really know him. He is 76 and dying. His son is almost 7 years old. The boy and his mother have been a blessing in his later years, and his deep love for them both is painted in the gratitude he expresses for this gift from God. His hopes and dreams for the boy's future are the most poignant. Without mushy sentimentality, we feel the ache he feels anticipating his absence from the boy's growing up.

This is a wonderful story, beautifully written. Thought provoking and awe inspiring. I've listened to it once.. read it twice.. given it to several friends as gifts. It is a challenging book to read, rich and full of new discoveries with each new reading.

There is,indeed, a balm in Gilead.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

Excellent book for young teenagers

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-04-03

Gary Paulsen wrote an excellent book on self-reliance, strong character and good common sense,and he wrapped it all up in an exciting survival story. Brian is an incredible character. Every kid should read this book in Middle School. I recommend the audio book for car trips. It keeps everyone engaged and makes the drive time much more enjoyable!! Look for the 2 sequels as well.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful