When Mary Godwin Sinclair, a woman living in 1930s America, discovers that her abusive husband is planning to leave her for another woman, she takes his getaway money and their deaf/mute son and makes her own escape. >From the time she and Jack stow away in the back of a furniture truck to her infuriated husband close on her trail, the action in this book never stops.
But THE SILENT GIFT is more than an adventure story: it raises many moral and ethical questions as well as theological ones. Michael Landon Jr. and Cindy Kelly allow readers to draw their own conclusions rather than supply the answers. Through the richly drawn characters who move in and out of Mary’s life, we discover the value of love, feel the pain of betrayal and marvel at the gift of God’s redemption.
From the very beginning, God provides for Mary and Jack in many ways through people who come into Mary’s life seemingly by mere coincidence. As she tries her best to find work during the worst of times in those years following the Great Depression, she learns there are very few employers looking to hire and fewer still who would allow someone who has to bring her child to work with her. But the good Lord provides by bringing in people who offer shelter, food, work and friendship in ways that have to be considered miracles. Yet, because of Jack’s disability and Mary’s lack of experience, something always goes wrong, and they are once again faced with homelessness.
And then the unimaginable happens: Mary and Jack are separated with neither one knowing where the other is. The heartbreak of a mother losing touch with her handicapped child is almost unbearable. During the time of their separation, the authors do an excellent job of moving back and forth between mother and son, each facing the loss of one another in his or her own way.
Without giving too much away about the “gift,” be prepared to examine your own beliefs about spiritual gifts and how they can be used. While Mary considers Jack to be her “silent gift,” there is also a second meaning to the title, and it is that meaning that finally leads to the thrilling climax of the story.
Michael Landon Jr. and Cindy Kelly have combined their considerable talents to create a beautiful story about a disabled boy, his devoted mother, and a God who watches over them through the turbulent years following the Great Depression. From the unthinkable incident that opens the story to the unexpected finale, THE SILENT GIFT is fast-paced and will have you turning pages to find out what could possibly happen next.
Reviewed by Maggie Harding on October 1, 2009