Review : When Mockingbird Sings by Billy Coffey

_240_360_Book.1592.coverWhen Mockingbird Sings

by Billy Coffey

BookLook Bloggers Synopsis:

What marks the boundary between a miracle from God and the imagination of a child?

Leah is a child from Away, isolated from her peers because of her stutter. But then she begins painting scenes that are epic in scope, brilliant in detail, and suffused with rich, prophetic imagery. When the event foreshadowed in the first painting dramatically comes true, the town of Mattingly takes notice.

Leah attributes her ability to foretell the future to an invisible friend she calls the Rainbow Man. Some of the townsfolk are enchanted with her. Others fear her. But there is one thing they all agree on-there is no such thing as the Rainbow Man.

Her father, the town psychologist, is falling apart over his inability to heal his daughter . . . or fix his marriage. And the town minister is unraveled by the notion that a mere child with no formal training may be hearing from God more clearly than he does.

While the town bickers over what to do with this strange child, the content of Leah’s paintings grows darker. Still, Leah insists that the Rainbow Man’s heart is pure. But then a dramatic and tragic turn of events leaves the town reeling and places everyone’s lives in danger. Now the people of Mattingly face a single choice:

Will they cling to what they know . . . or embrace the things Leah believes in that cannot be seen?

My Review:

3.5 of 5 Stars

I have to admit I have a lot of mixed emotions with this novel.  I both really like it and find various parts fairly.. annoying or unsettling.   I’m always a bit hesitant to read christian based fiction because of the way it can often play out with those of faith being almost irritatingly ‘good’ while those without are often cast as stubborn, close minded or worse.  This story didn’t fall into that completely which I really appreciated.  But there were some parts I just truly did not understand.

I am still confused by the fact that Leah was kept at a distance from any of her peers because of her stutter.  I understand it to the point that she needed different kinds of attention than most children.  However, non socialization can’t be a positive thing for any kid – at least that’s my theory and I could very well be completely wrong on that.

What is with the complete dislike of people from ‘Away’?  I’m by no means saying this never happens but I’ve lived in and around small towns before. Yet, I’ve never experienced or seen this level of distrust and hostility toward ‘city folk’.  In fact I’ve often seen the reverse in that the small town people are incredibly generous and kind.   Perhaps this has more to do with the fact the new family isn’t religious rather than from a different environment which I can see as realistic, especially in the ‘bible belt’. (Which also annoys me.)

Every single character including the reverend have major flaws and personal issues.  In a way the events that unfold do so in a way that forces every single person in the community to do some introspection.

I do think that my mixed emotions come more from the uncomfortable feeling the story left me with.  This wasn’t action by any stretch and I’m not even sure it fits ‘mystery’.  The characters and plot all require some thought and deliberation.  Things that seem one way may not always necessarily be that way.  For myself I’m finding this isn’t a book I can read and just put down, it’s left me stuck in thought and pondering.  Because of this (and the included guide in the back of my copy) I can imagine this would make an incredible read for a book group, especially one more spiritual or christian in nature.  The discussions could go on for hours and be quite enjoyable.  That being said if you have strong thoughts or feelings against religion, this probably isn’t the book for you.  If you are able to have an open mind I’d recommend giving it a try just for the questions and topics it brings to light.

This novel was provided free from the publisher through BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion and I was compensated in no other manner.


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