Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Joyce Magnin's The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow ~ Reviewed
The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow (Paperback)
by Joyce Magnin
Paperback: 398 pages
Publisher: Abingdon Press (September 2009)
The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow is the story of an unusual woman, Agnes Sparrow. No longer able or willing to leave her home, where she is cared for by her long-suffering sister Griselda, Agnes has committed her life to the one thing she can do-besides eat. Agnes Sparrow prays and when Agnes prays things happen, including major miracles of the cancer, ulcer-healing variety along with various minor miracles not the least of which is the recovery of lost objects and a prize-winning pumpkin.
The rural residents of Bright's Pond are so enamored with Agnes they plan to have a sign erected on the interstate that reads, "Welcome to Bright's Pond, Home of Agnes Sparrow." This is something Agnes doesn't want and sends Griselda to fight city hall.
Griselda's petitions are shot down and the sign plans press forward until a stranger comes to town looking for his miracle from Agnes. The truth of Agnes's odd motivation comes out when the town reels after a shocking event. How could Agnes allow such evil in their midst? Didn't she know?
Well, the prayers of Agnes Sparrow have more to do with Agnes than God. Agnes has been praying to atone for a sin committed when she was a child. After some tense days, the townsfolk, Griselda, and Agnes decide they all need to find their way back to the true source of the miracles-God.
If you would like to read the first chapter of The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow, go HERE
Solid, engaging writing and strong characters bring added readability to one of the more unique story lines I've read this year. A seven-hundred pound woman prays for her town. It's all she can do since she is housebound due to her size and medical conditions. The townspeople benefit from those prayers -- several healings take place and Agnes becomes a hero and a vending machine for blessings. Her neighbors bring a never ending supply of food and Agnes eats and prays and eats and prays.
But underneath the safety of her layers of insulation lies a secret that changes everything.
This story is thought-provoking. Many Christians and religious folks have a tendency to idolize servants rather than the God who gives power and bestows blessings. We also tend toward judging those who are different or have experiences different from ours. And then the biggest question of all...how can a woman so grossly entrenched in the sin of gluttony be a woman whose prayers are answered so abundantly?
Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer