I haven’t read a book like this in a long time. It is written in third person, omniscient. The point of view jumps from character to character, so you really get a feel for what several people are thinking. Thankfully, it’s not difficult to follow along as you roam through several people’s minds through the course of the book.
I really enjoyed the characters of this book. They are real, flawed people. It is definitely a character-driven book, as opposed to a plot-driven book. So, anyone who enjoys delving into the imaginations and thoughts of characters will enjoy this book. It is very slow, allowing the reader to savor the words on the page. If you are one who likes action to drive a plot forward, you probably should skip this book. But if you are one who enjoys good writing about good characters, you’ll like this book. Personally, I like both of those styles.
I thought the subject matter was very appropriate for today’s world. The main character is a man who has grown away from his children, and they have become distant and bitter toward him – until one of his daughters takes the initiative to get them all back together again for a week-long vacation. The author does an amazing job of showing the eventual change of heart over several months in all of the characters involved in the story, using humor along the way.
It’s written in a slightly old-fashioned way (which I enjoyed, by the way). Even though the writing style was a little old-fashioned, the author made sure to make the young characters modern in their clothing choices as well as pop culture. So, it’s kind of an old-fashioned contemporary book.
One other thing in the book that I was surprised about was that one of the characters was interested in adopting from China. What was surprising was that all of the statements made about children adopted from China and the adoption process were wrong. My husband and I have adopted from China, and for the last five years, I’ve studied the subject in some way just about every day. I have never heard any of the statements that she has made in the book; they are really out there. But I don’t hold this against her. I really enjoyed the book, so I can overlook these off-base statements. It does make me wonder where she got her info on the subject though.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading Sometimes a Light Surprises. I liked all of the characters and felt it was true to life and real. The subject of Christianity was subtle, but made its way into characters hearts. The book was very well written and pleasant and amusing to read.
Though it was years ago, Ben Buckley has never gotten over the loss of his wife. But even more than the mystery surrounding her death is the radical change that occurred in her life shortly beforehand. Their marriage was unusually happy–until she met a woman who “turned her on to religion.” Baffled, angry, and still feeling guilty for the way he treated Chloe those final weeks, Ben now lives behind the protective walls of severed relationships and a rigid work routine. When two unlikely people enter his narrow world, Ben’s view of his life begins to change, and gradually the barriers he’s erected around himself come tumbling down. For readers who enjoy character-driven, thought-provoking stories that stay with them long after the last page is turned.