Some Small Magic
I’ll start with a disclaimer: I don’t find magic in the charm of Southern hill people’s poverty. I don’t find ignorance endearing. I don’t find struggle necessarily enlightening. I think to enjoy this book you would have to appreciate all three.
Abel Shifflet is used to things not going his way. A young man with brittle bones who can be hurt just by tripping he literally lives a “hard knock life”. When he discovers a set of letters from the father he believed to be dead but who is very much alive, he decides to set off for the town of Fairhope to meet him. Abel’s desire is to discover some magic to alleviate the pain and poverty of his existence. But like the song says, we don’t always get what we want, we get what we need. Along the way he will meet people who will change his perspective, remind him of what’s important, and ultimately, will lead him to the home he’s been longing for.
A celebration of the quaint quirkiness of life in the South, I found this tale a painful reminder of everything that has created the division this country experiences right now. My heart ached every time I read the phrase “Dumb Willy”, which was a descriptor of one of Abel’s good friends who was mentally handicapped. And while I appreciated the effort to write a Christian perspective into an Of Mice and Men style tale, it just didn’t work for me. Mr. Coffey gets full credit for being able to produce lyrical prose but his loving, nostalgic look at people who made me long to slap them hard in the face left me feeling disgruntled and dissatisfied.
I've been an avid reader since 2nd grade and discovered romance when my cousin lent me Lord of La Pampa by Kay Thorpe in 7th grade. I currently read approximately 150 books a year, comprised of a mix of Young Adult, romance, mystery, women's fiction, and science fiction/fantasy.