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Thursday, November 17, 2011

"Proof of Heaven" by Mary Curran Hackett ~ Heartfelt and Beautiful Story

Published by:  HarperCollins Publishers/William Morrow
Pages:  291
Genre: Adult, General Fiction, Family Dynamics


Overview:

A mother’s faith, a child’s courage, a doctor’s dedication—a moving and thought-provoking tale of hope, love, and family.
He might be young, but Colm already recognizes the truth: that he’s sick and not getting better. His mother, Cathleen, fiercely believes her faith will protect her ailing son, but Colm is not so sure. With a wisdom far beyond his years, Colm has come to terms with his probable fate, but he does have one special wish. He wants to meet his father who abandoned his beloved mother before Colm was born.
But the quest to find the dying boy’s missing parent soon becomes a powerful journey of emotional discovery—a test of belief and an anxious search for proof of heaven.
A magnificent debut novel, Mary Curran Hackett’s Proof of Heaven is a beautiful and unforgettable exploration of the power of love and the monumental questions of life, death, and the afterlife.

The Dame's Review:

Mary Curran Hackett has written a novel that is utterly exceptional. And, it is relentlessly heart-wrenching in beauty.  Through her ability to convey the troubles of womens' hearts, we understand how profoundly blessed and, yet, somehow bereft we've been not to have known the mind of a child with recurrent dying episodes. If you are a mother who has experienced this heart-crushing thing, I can only shake my head and cry for you.

This story is profound in the content, and it's moving in the story-telling.  I loved the book and urge you to take the time to travel the road discovering eloquent, but sometimes simple answers to the deepest questions and wounds of our hearts.  Is there proof of heaven?

Colm Magee, like many children who live with life-threatening illnesses, has the mind and emotions far beyond his age.  His mother, Cathleen, bears the larger burdens of feeling her child's pain/illness, helping him carry the unknown rejection of his abandoning father, and the consistent questions Colm has about "proof" of heaven. If you're a mother, you know exactly what bearing your child's pain means, so Ms Hackett digs deep in the telling...

It's through their emotions that "Proof of Heaven" takes us along with these beautiful characters: learning how to cope (or trying to) with Colm's near death experiences and the aftermaths, learning to bridge love, losses and friendships with doctors, learning to "come home" to rejecting husband and lost family, and healing the hurts that come with all of that; then, ultimately having Colm's knowledge that only comes at the end of life.

I was very moved, yet stricken with the magnitude of Ms Hackett's ability to express the feelings of her characters that I had to sit back and catch my breath.  I cried and I was introspective. It was a wonder to me that this is her first book.

This book is what I'm talking about when I ask, "Where are some authors taking us these days in their writing?"  Here was where I found some goodness and truth about living and dying. Here is where you'll find some honesty and reality about life and souls reaching out for each other.

I highly recommend this unforgettable novel to you.  It's the other side of "Room"...it's the answer that some children and parents may have questions about.  And, it's a story that will inspire you to think about the proof of heaven.


At the end of her book, Mary Curran Hackett has a section kindly giving more answers with special dedications for her book, why she wrote it, an interview and a book group guide.  I rarely take the time to go over these sections in other books, frankly.  In this book...I took the time.  You should, too.


Have any of you read a similar book lately??


5 stars wrapped in love


Deborah/TheBookishDame


I'm grateful to have been able to bring you this review by permission of: 

2 comments:

Kathleen Higgins-Anderson

Hi Deborah! That is a beautiful review, I have the book on my TBR list. Thank you for your comment on my book review of The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood on my blog site. I am now following you too! :)

Kathleen Anderson, Jersey Girl Book Reviews

http://jerseygirlbookreviews.blogspot.com/

heathertlc

Wow, it sounds like this book really knocked your socks off! I'm so glad to hear that.

Thanks for being on the tour! I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.

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