While I’m not completely a curmudgeon or skeptic, it is rare that I pick up a book having to do with spirituality or faith or anything that chirps of religion. Nor do I tend to read Christmas books in March. However, it is books like Glendale author Judd Parkin’s “The Carpenter’s Miracle” that really make me appreciate the opportunity I’ve been given to review books, because doing so allows me to step outside of my normal reading genres and happen upon gems such as this.
The book tells the story of a carpenter named Josh, who happens to be doing some ice fishing one day. All of a sudden he hears some boys calling for help. Josh runs across the slippery ice only to find that one of the boys has fallen through a crack in the ice, and he must leap in the frigid water to save the boy. Needless to say, the boy, whose name is Luke, is pronounced dead at the hospital. His mother is notified, everyone is crying, Josh leans over to whisper a prayer, lightly touching Luke on the shoulder. And then “the miracle” happens.
The story evolves over the course of a mere 150 pages, intertwining the lives of Josh, Luke and Luke’s mother Sarah as they come to terms with the “celebrity” of being a boy who is brought back from the dead. News reporters flock from the big city, hoping to make the experience of this quiet carpenter’s life into the next blockbuster media-exploited happenstance. Many are out to prove that Josh is anything but a miracle worker, something Josh has never claimed to be.
When Josh’s mother is suddenly hospitalized, he is forced to jump headlong into the media madness in order to pay for an expensive surgery to save her life. But the reader is left wondering, at what cost?
Many philosophical debates surface from this mild-mannered story centered around the power of one man’s beliefs, such as the price of fame, the importance of family, and the age-old battle of good and evil (in a very understated way). The author doesn’t overwhelm the reader with Judeo-Christian dogma, but instead he subtly explores how, for some, a little faith in God goes a long way.
Parkin weaves a balance of suspense, romance and even a little humor with his rich yet simple characters, and provides a poetically crafted narrative that will have even the most cynical reader thinking, if just for a moment, wouldn’t it be nice to experience such miracles?
- LYDA TRUICK has a master's of library and information science and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Title: “The Carpenter’s Miracle” by Judd Parkin
Publisher: Bonneville Books
Cost: Paperback $11.99
Available: Local retailers and online