Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Mercy Amoung the Children A Heart Wrenching but wonderful story

The other night I stayed up and finished the last pages of Mercy Amoung the Children by David Adams Richards - my 9th read for the Canada Book Challenge Eh! and my first read for Canada Reads 2009.
It is a tragic fictional story narrated by Lyle Henderson, the son of Sydney Henderson, a gentle man who while not formally educated is extremely intelligent, having taken it upon himself to read everything he he could get his hands on. Sydney believes that truth will always win out in the end and redemption will be received by those who deserves it and thus is only passive when he and Lyle's mom Elly are blamed for tragedies that befall their small community in Eastern Canada. This causes much distress for Lyle who throughout his narration of this story grows from a boy to a teen and sees his poor struggling family continue to be beaten down. He turns the other way, aligning himself with some of the less desirable in what he believes is the means to regain his family's reputation. Interestingly, on my drive to Florida I was enjoying listening to a few of the volumes of the children's fiction - A Series of Unfortunate Events. Mercy could also be given a similar title in that just as you think in the Series of Unfortunate Events that the Bodelair siblings will get away from Count Olaf and things will get better for them so to the reader continues to read on in hope that there will in fact be redemption for the Henderson family and that Lyle's life will finally turn around for the better. This novel was wonderful. It was well told and while very sad and extremely tragic at the time was very true and a value to have experienced. I can see why this received the Giller Prize in 2000 and is part of Canada Reads 2009. It is my first completed book in series and I have already started and am enjoying Fruit: A Novel About A Boy and His Nipples by Brian Francis. This is a complete 360 from Mercy - a humourous tale about an adolescent boy going through puberty who has noticed that his nipples look like ripe cherries and his efforts to counteract this as well as deal with the other terrible things that we all went through as young teens. I am enjoying this one so far. I am now wondering if either of these will win Canada Reads. It will be interesting this year to follow the debate on the books as I hopefully will have read them all by then. Speaking of which, I have joined another group that are reading all the Canada Reads Selection. This blog can be found at
Keep on reading!

1 comment:

  1. Great review Tara! I also really enjoyed Mercy Among the Children, and am currently reading Fruit. I'm a little late for the Canada Reads debate, but I think I will hold off listening to it until I've completed all of the books. Oh, the beauty of podcast archiving. If you are interested, my review can be found here .
    Happy Reading!