Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Book Review: Insight

I just finished reading Insight, the young adult/juvenile fiction novel by Diana Greenwood. When I agreed to review the book I hadn't realized it is a "Christian" novel. I normally wouldn't read something in that category, but, I was sent the book and so I read it. I'm glad I did.

Insight is, first of all, well written, keeping within the classic coming of age genre. "Vira," (Elvira) the young girl, struggles with an emotionally distant mother and grandmother, and the disappearance of her father in late 1940s America.  Reasons for these: the fighting and hardness of mother and grandmother, the absent father, are due to many factors, including alcoholism and poverty.  And then, a sibling comes along, one who has psychic abilities that changes the direction of this emotionally damaged family.

Vira's mother decides to move across the country, and it is during this move that Vira discovers many things about not only herself, but her mother and grandmother. Throughout, Vira grieves for her father and the guilt she suffers surrounding his disappearance. 

Vira's sister continues to startle her family and those around her with her abrupt visions, culminating in what I found to be an unexpected yet satisfying end. The ending is a realistic one, and the term "realistic" might seem odd given the aura of supernatural presences, yet Greenwood weaves together the everydayness of life with something "other" in a seamless and satisfying way.

The Christian message is a universal one: the power of love and forgiveness. I am not a Christian, but I can't argue with that message at all. There isn't any preachiness or over the top fundamentalist religious message in this book.

Insight is a good read, and a good story. If you're not inclined to read religious type books don't let that stop you from reading Insight.

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