Thursday, November 24, 2011

Book Review: Paper Angels by Jimmy Wayne and Travis Thrasher

Paper Angels by Jimmy Wayne and Travis Thrasher
Publisher: Howard Books
Publish Date: November 1, 2011
Hardcover, 304 pages 
Fiction, Christmas
 ISBN:  978-1451606195

My Review:
Paper Angels is a powerful story and if it can't get you in the mood for the true spirit of Christmas then I don't know what will.

Paper Angels is two stories, the first is of a mom and her two children who escape an abusive father one Christmas to start over and make a new life for themselves in a new town a state away.  It's by far not an easy life.  They are dirt poor and faced with struggles of faith, struggles of bullying and even simple struggles of selfishness, but somehow one family member finds a way through faith to rise above it all and make a difference even in a time when that person could have been disgusted and fully given up.

The second story follows a family in their thirties.  Kevin is struggling with the business he started a few years ago and really wants to make work especially now that his wife is expecting twins and they already have a 4-year-old.  Kevin is also struggling with worry as their may be a problem with one of the babies and he is constantly worrying about the business and about their finances and about his wife.  He knows he needs to give up the worry and just let God take care of it, but he can't seem to do it.  Then one day his wife talks him into taking an angel from the Salvation Army Angel Tree and Kevin can't help but notice the little things that begin to happen.  Things that make Kevin really think and take stock of his life and realize what is truly important in life.

Two completely different stories and from the beginning I had no idea where either one would go and they went in directions that I did not expect.  I love how they intersected and I love how they told the story that one person can make a difference because I think so often we think that as one person we can't make a difference, but we can.  Every bit will help in this world, especially this downturn in the economy.  So reach out, help somewhere this holiday season.

Take an angel, you may just make a child's Christmas.  Serve in a soup kitchen.  Hold a food drive to help put food on the table of the needy.  Ring bells.  And all this doesn't just apply to the Christmas season either, there is plenty to be done the rest of the year - people still need clothes, still need food, still need love.  Children need loving foster homes and advocates.  Pray to see where you can help.  I know I will be.  This book has truly touched me in a way that I want to be of more use in the community. I'm not rich but I am sure there is something I can do just like they did in the book.  Jimmy Wayne and Travis Thrasher have written a beautiful and heart-felt book about second chances in life and turning toward God to help us with our problems and to thank him to for our blessings.  So let's make sure we do that today.

Pick up this book and pick up a copy for a friend or loved one as we - it's beautifully written, it reads fast and you will enjoy the back and forth between stories.  Plus while getting to know these two families, I'm pretty sure you will see some of your self in at least one of the characters if not more.  I see a lot of myself in both Kevin and Lynn, two completely different characters (though I am not an abused wife, or male for that matter).  But the characters are easy to relate to and that is what I think is important.  And while the lessons are numerous and have the Christian bend to them, they are not preachy, they teach the loving side of God, through letting God take over your worry, to forgiveness.  It is all very well put together in a beautiful story for the Christmas season.

My Rating: 5.0/5.0

About the Book:
Kevin Morrell is a forty-three year old husband and father who runs a successful design and marketing firm. Attempting to navigate the busyness of the mall at Christmas, Kevin is humbled when he stumbles across the Salvation Army's Angel Tree Project. He picks up a paper ornament and is both moved and intrigued by the list. Why would a fourteen-year-old boy want shoes a size bigger than his foot? And why specifically a Banana Republic card? Why of all the stores would a fourteen year old pick that store? 

Thomas Reed is the fourteen-year-old boy on the card. He is still reeling from the implosion of his family—from years of verbal abuse from an alcoholic father to a mother who finally left him behind, only to find herself and Thomas penniless and struggling. The only thing has allowed Sandra to survive is her faith. Thomas shares that faith, but he also wonders why God has seemingly abandoned them.

This is the story about a man and a boy one December. A man whose life is changed by a simple expression of kindness the day after Thanksgiving. And a boy who takes that expression of kindness and shows the true meaning of Christmas.

About the Author: 
Jimmy Wayne is an American country music singer and songwriter. He released his self-titled debut album in 2003 on the DreamWorks Records label. Four singles were released from it, including "Stay Gone" and "I Love You This Much", which both reached Top Ten on the Billboard country charts. A second album, Do You Believe Me Now, was released in August 2008 via Big Machine Records subsidiary Valory Music Group, and its title track became his first Number One hit in late 2008.

Travis Thrasher is the author of more than a dozen works of fiction including two novellas, The Promise Remains and The Watermark. He has been called "the Nicholas Sparks of Christian fiction" by Christian Retailing magazine. Travis's drive and imagination have allowed him to see a variety of books published: from love stories (The Watermark; Three Roads Home) to suspense (Gun Lake; Admission; Blinded) to drama (The Second Thief; Sky Blue) to supernatural thrillers (Isolation; Ghostwriter). Travis lives with his wife and daughters in a suburb of Chicago.

Travis Thrasher's Website
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Travis Thrasher's Blog

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