Lies and Other Acts of Love by Kristy Woodson Harvey
Now that I'm a few weeks into my new clinical chaplain gig, I'm reminded that the two most significant events for human beings are births and deaths; what I find most interesting about these two events is that they are the times during which the one human directly affected (the one either being born or dying) has the least amount of control. Instead, other individuals like family members, friends, etc., are placed in a uniquely influential position and often struggle in this role.
Death, as in birth, never comes at a convenient time. No matter how prepared you are that the moment is nigh, no matter how anticipatory you have been, there is never a moment where the realization that this is it, my life is changed forever, doesn't come as a bit of a shock.
As a born-and-raised Southerner, I can attest to the fact that we, as Southerners, have some type of innate desire to make the human condition seem nice, pretty, appropriate, non-confrontational, pleasant and, above all else, well-mannered. Unfortunately, life is not like that at all; instead, it's messy, scary, dirty, hurtful, emotional and definitely not pretty.
[...] the thing that no one tells you about being in love is that, for every percentage that person makes you feel what you expect - that deeply rooted, grounded security - they have double that power to make you feel uprooted, wandering and totally lost.
Author Kristy Woodson Harvey is a true Southerner...and she gets it. She writes about the human condition in a way that celebrates the emotional roller coaster ride we experience from the time we are born until the day we die, while also beautifully illuminating the ugly parts and the "little lies" that we don't like to talk about.
But that's the thing about a secret that haunts your dreams and fills those empty spaces in your mind. Once you know a thing so huge, you can never un-know it again.
In addition to the universal human condition, she also writes about what I like to call the "Southern condition;" I know many of you can relate.
My grandmother, Lovey, says that there are two types of people in the world: the kind who flee to the shelters at the first threat of a hurricane, and the kind who wait it out, hovering over their possessions as if their fragile lives offer any protection against a natural mother than can take them out of the world as quickly as she brought them into it. I come from along line of the hovering kind.
This is a quick, entertaining page-turner with wonderful characters; I'm still wishing that I could sit down with Lovey and have a fascinating conversation over a glass of scotch (her drink of choice) and I hated to see this one to come to an end. I truly enjoyed Woodson Harvey's debut effort, Dear Carolina (you can read my thoughts here), and with Lies and Other Acts of Love she has firmly established herself as a talented author; I'm excited to see what story she will share with us next.