A Song for Issy Bradley by Carys Bray tickles your sense of humor, nudges your heart with compassion for these struggling characters, and reveals the inner tickings of the Mormon faith. A close English family knit to the church by their enduring faith and the father’s function as a Mormon bishop, the Bradleys suffer a huge loss. Each family member: Mom Claire, Dad Ian, sons Al and Jacob, and daughter Zippy, mourns in his/her unique way.
This book gives insights into Mormonism, its strengths and weaknesses. The great humanity of the characters shines through Bray’s luminous writing. One memorable character is Jacob, 7 years old, who plans for, then waits for a miracle, providing the reader with both humor and fascination at the twists of a young mind grappling with the unknown.
Taking us into Jacob’s mind, Chapter 1 begins “Jacob wakes up early. He isn’t sure why at first then he remembers it’s his birthday, which makes his stomach tip like a Slinky. It’s still dark, the thick kind that hides your hands from you. He lies quietly for a few moments, willing morning to get nearer.” The reader also enters into the thought processes of the other family members. This is the author’s first novel, and Ms. Bray quickly establishes that we are in the hands of a master.
And, the first line of the author’s bio, “Carys Bray was brought up in a devout Mormon family. In her early thirties she left the Church and replaced religion with writing,” tells it all.
Being brought up in a strong faith marks one indelibly, even if one later replaces or abandons that religion. I speak from experience.
Don’t miss this one.
P.S. New Year’s Resolution: blog more often.