Reviewer: Amy Lignor
Title: The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow
Author: Joyce Magnin
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Release Date: September 2009
Genre/Sub-genre: Inspirational Fiction
Year/Setting: Present Day, Brightís Pond, Pennsylvania
Overall Rating: 3.0
Sexual Content Rating: None/Subtle
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: None/Mild
Violent Content Rating: Minimal/Moderate
Joyce's Website: joycemagnin.blogspot.com
When I first began this debut novel, all I could think about was Whatís Eating Gilbert Grape? (NOTE: If you havenít seen this movie, rent it right now!)
When we open, we meet Griselda, the sister of Agnes Sparrow. We quickly learn that Agnes is the "main attraction" in the small town of Brightís Pond. Letís just say that Agnes is a very, very large woman. In addition, and most importantly, Agnes is also a vessel for God. Yup. Thatís what I said. Agnes has been known to pray over the townspeople and ask God to grant them miracles. Oddly enough, when Agnes prays, the people seem get exactly what they want. She even cures one person of cancer.
Brightís Pond is your typical small town. Everyone knows everyone. There are neighbors who sit in front of their windows and wave; the people at the coffee shop have all the gossip, etc. But Agnes is certainly the "it" girl. In fact, the townspeople love her so much that they want to erect a sign on the highway that reads: "Brightís Pond, Home of Agnes Sparrow."
Agnes doesnít want the hoop-la. She begs her sister to make the town stop. Folks, this is where something begins to happen for me. I debated for a long time what that something might have been. Why did I go from loving this story to liking this story? And then I understood. Agnes began to believe her own press. She sniped at her sister Ė who has no life except to babysit and take care of Agnesí every need. And, suddenly, I just didnít like Agnes very much.
A side story regards a drifter who comes into town begging for his very own miracle but wonít tell the women what he actually needs. He becomes the handyman who stumbles upon an outfit covered in what looks like blood buried in their basement and the mystery ensues. The "scenic" prose is absolutely lovely. But the characters fell apart for me as the book proceeded. Perhaps if the mystery were uncovered earlier in the novel the story as a whole wouldíve been more satisfying. Lesson here: Donít idolize anyone. If you believe in the Lord Ė believe in Him. Heís the only real miracle worker.
Until Next Time, Amy
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