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CHURCH OF THE DOG

by

KAYA McLAREN

Contemporary Fiction

2008

Penguin Books

ISBN #: 9780143113423

 

There's a way to embrace life with unspeakable joy even when disappointments and unexpected tragedies threaten to pummel away one's enthusiasm. Mara O'Shaunnessy, art teacher, mystic, practical advisor, energy healer, and questioner sweeps into the McRae family's world on an Oregon cattle farm. Edith and Earl are astonished initially by how this woman, whose ex-fiance was cheap enough to charge her for a car ride to the hospital, beautifies her little cabin with a vivid painting of a dog, a dog who looks just like the one who shows up a few days later to stay. Oh, she also adopts a hog about to be slaughtered. Her mercy seems to know no end, yet she's also about to learn some deeper wisdom through some heart-rending events. In the meantime, she learns to dance and her joy infects the McRae marriage with some luscious, restored romance! Just lovely!

Daniel, Earl and Edith's son, comes home at the request of his grandfather. He really doesn't want to be there but he also is shocked at the change he sees in his grandparents. He's got a wound larger than the deepest canyons in the Oregon countryside and no one can heal it for him but himself. Mara and Daniel's grandparents slowly and gently bring this young man back to considering how precious life is and how much mourning and rage block and destroy it.

Some novels have tragic events that turn into such a downer that the reader comes close to being overwhelmed! THIS ISN'T ONE OF THEM! This is one of the most beautiful novels this reviewer has read in a long time. No, it's not soapy or contrived. It's just full of wonderful, passionate, honest and graceful living and loving in a way that poignantly touches the reader's mind and heart. Whether it's waltzing lessons, bathing in a sauna while engaged in remarkable conversations, mourning the loss of loved ones, helping to birth calves, cooking a delicious meal and so much more, this author knows how to make each and every event seem like it's the most important moment in one's life.

Buy this book, read it, share it with your friends, your local book clubs, anyone, everyone! Kaya McLaren is a talented, reflective and wise writer who has something to convey to everyone with her unique, uncompromising, funny, open and touching characters.

Reviewed by Viviane Crystal on June 19, 2008

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