Wednesday, April 14


Written by Elizabeth George and published in 2006. I just finished this book and found it more interesting than I thought I might. It is the story of three disadvantaged children who live in London, England and the few years that precede the eventual downfall of one of them. Here are two quotes, with which I found myself agreeing:

"Even if you settle upon that permanently, you must still find a creative outlet for yourself. You see, where people go wrong when they set out in life is not exploring that part of themselves that feeds their spirit. Without that food, the spirit dies, and it's a large part of our responsibility to ourselves not to allow that to happen. In fact, consider how few psychiatric problems there might be if every individual actually knew what to do to keep alive in himself something that could affirm the very essence of who he is. That's what the creative act does, Joel. Blessed is the man or woman who knows this at a young age like yours."

And:

"The greatest sin is letting riches go to waste once you know they're riches. The difficulty is that most people don't know. They define riches only by what they can see because that's what they've been taught to do: to look at the end of things, the destination. What they never recognize is that riches are in the process, the journey, in what one does with what one has...."

Those lines are spoken by a man who is mentoring one of the children. It is sad that despite his attempt to steer the boy to a path of creativity and self-esteem, he fails. The boy can only see one way to insure the safety of his family - and it leads to his destruction.

My only fault with this book is that the idiomatic and slang language spoken by some of the characters is not explained, and the reader is left to his or her own devices to imagine exactly what is meant. I found that a problem in the early chapters, but as the book progressed, it became less so. When I read in the acknowledgments that Ms. George is an American who wrote in the voice of foreign children and teens of a lower socio-economic/educational level, I was impressed at her ability to capture the flavor of certain sections of London.

10 comments:

Travelin'Oma said...

I love Elizabeth George. Her Inspector Lynley mysteries are some of my all-time favorites and she wrote a book called Write Away about writing. I have it on my desk all the time just to remind me that I'm a writer.

Anil P said...

I liked the two passages you quoted.

Much like travel, the riches are to be found in the journey.

How often have we not seen the journey transform folks as they hurtle towards a destination!

Sometimes I wonder if we do not seek things for their exclusivity, ensuring that our efforts are then dedicated to remove ourselves from our position to a more exhalted one!

LL Cool Joe said...

I love the quotes too. Sounds like it's a good book.

British slang is hard to understand sometimes. Actually I was going to write a post about that from a music point of view.

Gilly said...

I shall have to get that book and see what an American writer makes of London slang!

Trouble with slang in a book is that it so quickly dates. the best books are those which could be read in any year and be enjoyed as contemporary.

But they are great quotes. Think my spirit has got a bit buried!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I LOVE those two quotations you re-printed Judy, and I agree whole heartedly...This sounds like s very interesting book!

BTW: You got me started reading a lot of John Grisham....I have read three or four of his books I had never read before and I am in the middle of the one called "THE PARTNER". It is Sooo good. Why this hasn't been made into a filn--I will never understand. )Though maybe when I get to the end, I will....lol).

Bob-kat said...

Those two passages you quote are so true. Unfortunately, like so mnay people I was pushed towards what I should do in life and found at these truisms for myself, the hard way.

Sometimes, I think this sort of wisdom can only come through experience.

Granny Annie said...

Sounds like a good book. Is it fiction or non-fiction? Did you say you read THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett? If you haven't, I guarantee you will love it.

srp said...

The "end" for all of us is the same in the ultimate sense of the word... it is the journey that counts... who we put our faith in, how we touch the lives of others and enjoying the fellowship with God along the way.

Kay Dennison said...

Great quotes -- that's an Elizabeth George I missed!

jeanmac said...

Wise words. May try the book now that I have some reading time.