Friday, October 07, 2005

A Common Life by Jan Karon

My "book du jour" is A Common Life by Jan Karon. I have come late to the Jan Karon fan club. I briefly scanned one of her books several years ago and did not become interested, so I formed the opinion that I did not like her kind of writing. Last weekend I found a practically new hardback copy of this book at a yard sale for 50 cents. Of course a bargain like that does not go unsnappedup!

This book is a quick, easy, and delightful read because the plot is secondary to the characterization. Few writers can achieve reader-loyalty with virtually no plot in their novels. This one is an exception. I think that expecting an exciting plot is what put me off on my first attempt to read this author. Notwithstanding the lack of plot, I loved the characters, drawn so carefully and completely and true-to-life. I laughed at Uncle Billy's speech patterns, don't you know. Who hasn't known someone who wraps every statement in his/her own special security blanket -- like Uncle Billy appends "Don't you know" to everything he says? And how can you not recognize and become attached to Dooley, the little foster child who has "come up hard," but is working to make something of himself?

This book is well worth a few hours of your life.


Terry said...

Joan, I became a vicarious citizen of Mitford several years ago. I grew to have great affection for the characters. I haven't read one in a while. I think A New Song was the last one I read.

Maybe it has something to do with being a preacher's kid. The people of Mitford often remind me of folks Daddy ran up on in his career.

It's good to see pastors treated respectfully and realistically. Father Tim may not be Billy Graham or John Paul II or Jim Turrentine, but he seems real to me. Fictional pastors usually drive me up the wall. Their creators are often incredibly ignorant of the church and paint their pastors as disgustingly dogmatic, sickly sweet and superficial, or nauseatingly naive. (Aggravatingly alliterative?)

I am enjoying your blog immensely! I'll have to read some more Mitford.

I'm gonna be looking for the Philbrick book, too.

Carol said...

I haven't heard of this book, either. I have to admit, though, that I enjoyed Terry's comments almost as much as your post -- especially the aggravtingly alliterative part! Love reading your blog!

Jane Ann said...

Joan, I, like Terry, have been a vicarious citizen of Mitford. I have loved Jan Karon's depiction of small town life. I do love the way she shows that Father Tim is a respected and loved member of the community. Now that you have read this book, I think you would really enjoy going back and reading the entire series. Mitford is wonderful town to visit and the people are so reminiscent of people I have met in the towns where we have lived and in the churches we have served. Enjoy the journey.

Ruth said...

Joan, Iloce your BLOGS. Needless to say, i like your comments about Jan Karon's book and laways enjoy your wonderful writing skills. I love to read about Uncle Billy and his jokes.
Thanks for all your help on my BLOG. I never could find the edits that got erased on my last one. I spent too much time trying to find it and was then too tired te reconstruct what I had writen earlier...