I read religious fiction only when I have to or when there’s nothing else to read (or do). So naturally, I review them with extreme prejudice. But, honesty must prevail: The Mailbox is a pretty good read, especially for being Whalen’s first book.
The story spans 2o years of a woman’s life, beginning at the age of 15 and punctuated by an annual ritual with a mysterious mailbox. In my opinion, three things make the book:
1. The past and the present are skillfully woven together. The interview notes at the end of the book give credit for this to the editor’s foresight in how to make this happen. Instead of tying the story sequence chronologically, the sequence of events are revealed naturally through the voice and recollection of the character.
2. There is no obvious predictability. While the formula of a religious novel seems to always demands a happy ending, this one has a couple of twists that make up for the predictable last chapter where–yes–they live happily ever after.
3. Makes the reader want to visit The Mailbox in Sunset Beach, North Carolina. I found appealing that the story is based on a real thing in a real place. Its realistic setting and generous autobiographical sprinkling throughout the book shaved off some of my prejudice against religious fiction. I can see how it can be a viable medium of spiritual growth. A few more of these, and I may be challenged to attempt at writing one myself.
To tell you more would be to tell you the whole story. So go ahead and get yourself a copy, read it, and tell me if you too think that Roderick was an angel stirring up some the drama.
(I received this book free from David C. Cook. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.)