Just a little disclaimer to start – this review is in no way objective or unbiased because, well, I love Shawn Smucker and his family. Still, everything I say about the book is true. I’m just a little more gushy that I might have been if I didn’t love these folks so much.
I just sat down as the sun came over the trees at the edge of the hay field and read the last few pages of Shawn Smucker’s newest book, The Day the Angels Fell. I’ve been devouring the pages as fast as I can, and last night, I dozed off just at the climax. (I have a way of doing that – it’s about me, not about Shawn’s book.) So before I even started my own editing, I broke my own rules and finished Shawn’s book.
It’s incredible. The story is simple and straight-forward but layered and rich, like really amazing Boston Cream Pie. The metaphors are lush, and the allusions powerful. It felt like reading something between a fairy tale and a great parable.
As I read, I kept thinking of Walter Wangerin’s The Book of the Dun Cow and C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, two of the best books I’ve ever read that deal with mystery and truth in a way that leaves you better for having let yourself fall into the story.
Plus, the way that Shawn approaches death here – well, as someone who sits still very much in the grief of her own mother’s death – I found the story hard but helpful in all the best ways.
My favorite line in the book is this one:
What if death isn’t as dark and scary as we think it is? What if death is simply the path from this world, full of hurt and pain, to a better place?
I have thought something akin to that so many times since Mom died, as I remember he face – thin and pale in those last days, as I heard Dad whisper over and over again, “It’s okay, honey. You can go. Go be with Jesus.” For her to stay here with us then would have been cruel. There are things worse than death.
So I am grateful for the magic of Shawn’s book, the gripping story and the complex characters who I love, but I’m most grateful for the affirmation of something I know but don’t hear often. . .
I highly recommend the book for you and your children (I’d say folks 10 and over can probably handle the content). Grab a copy now.
What’s your first read of 2015? How are you liking it?