There are those in the world who touch us on a level that can’t be explained. Whether that person be a parent who gave it all to give us a chance at a good life; or a teacher who set us on our life’s path, there was that “one” whose actions or words made a huge difference. When it comes to this book, readers meet up with “two” of those people who we all wish we had the chance to know in person.
Uriah Landon was a soldier who left behind a letter to his family and some truly powerful words in a bloodstained journal; a journal that’s delivered to a comrade of Uriah’s named Benjamin Orry. These words set Ben on a path to visit Uriah’s small hometown. Perhaps, at the beginning, Ben is headed there to return these personal items to Uriah’s family. Yet within the pages he discovers some things that could literally end up hurting these people. But Ben has to go. His own experiences in Iraq lead him to explore Uriah’s past and perhaps find the answers to what forgiveness is all about.
Readers will fall in love with Uriah immediately, because the first tale is all about a wonderful ‘moment in time’ when Uriah falls for a young girl who he pays to teach him how to dance. He states that he needs to be able to dance with a date and wants the help of a real pro so that he doesn’t look like a bumbling idiot. The person who he wants more than anything to dance with (for the rest of his life) is a teacher named Kelly.
Uriah is not a boy who constantly plays X-Box games or worries about which of his friends is texting his cell phone. His thoughts are squarely set on how he can land a job right out of high school, with salary and benefits, so that he can claim his mom as a dependent in order to get her medical care. With that in mind, and as Kelly and Uriah begin planning a life together, Uriah takes some advice and enlists. After all, at least he’ll be taught a trade in the armed services and be able to land a job and take care of his family.
More tales are told of Uriah’s life from then on and readers watch as faith becomes more important than oxygen. Walking beside Ben as he takes readers back through Uriah’s happiness, pain and literal transformations, there are times when good is shadowed by evil. Above all, you want Ben to somehow “win.” To somehow make all the bad, the anger, the war (both at home and in Iraq) go away. You want to root at all times for those beloved soldiers who give up their lives, as well as all the rest who return home to face a different world. What you do get at all times is honesty, friendship, and courage. If there was any criticism to give regarding this book, it would be that I wanted more.
Quill says: Not a ‘dainty’ story, but an honor to read. This is a tale that encourages faith, even when it feels like that’s the most impossible thing to find.