21 June 2006

Handling Sin

In keeping with my "slow down" week, today's blog will be my take on a book whose hero learns how to truly live life. Handling Sin by Michael Malone chronicles the journey of Raleigh from a straight-laced insurance salesman to an embracing lover of life. Raleigh is sent on a wild goose chase/scavenger hunt by his ailing father. Along the way he encounters Murphy’s mishaps, encounters with criminal life, a reawakened love with his wife, and a self-discovery of life.
Malone’s small town of Thermopylae as well as his writing style is reminiscent of Mark Twain. It took me a while to get into the book as the author details the humdrum life of the small town and the stuffy hero, but I plugged through because the book came recommended by a friend. At some point (during the car chase? the farce at rebuilt Tara?), I entered into the lives of the off-beat small-time drug dealer lackey (Raleigh’s brother), the escaped convict, the overweight best friend who smiled at every new city and conquered every old fear, and the aging jazz musician waiting for his big break. They teach Raleigh to relax his hiked up shoulders, wear suave white suits with big collars, and fight the mafia. As Raleigh approaches New Orleans, his goal city, to reclaim his dad and take him back to the hospital, he waxes on morality and truth, evaluating his understanding of God and the world around him. He recognizes that God, as all-powerful creator and sustainer of life, has every right to do what He will with His creation, including with Raleigh, who, though he has lived the straight and narrow in his own eyes, knows now that he deserves nothing. Raleigh realizes that life is not the predictable insurance stats on which he has been basing his every action. In the end, he unearths his true treasure: relationships, relationships with imperfect people, at that.


Anonymous said...

Sooo, can I borrow it?

Heather said...

I had checked it out of the library. Be prepared for a long novel.