The Secret Wisdom of the Earth, by Christopher Scotton
Hardcover: 480 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; First Edition ~1st Printing edition (January 6, 2015)
Reading Sara Review: I will admit, this book has been on my TBR list for far too long – and I am so glad that I finally had a chance to read it. The Secret Wisdom of the Earth is a dramatic, intense, and moving story of a boy coming of age when he sees his younger brother die. His father, who is angry and bitter, sends him and his mother, who is inconsolable and unable to care for him, to stay with his grandfather in rural Kentucky to the town of Medgar.
Medgar has its own secrets and its own battles, and Kevin begins to heal as he discovers these secrets and finds friendship. Medgar is having challenges of its own, from the battle to save their environment from mountaintop removal to the poverty that has stricken the community, and the prejudices that lie deep in people’s hearts in 1985.
There are too many wonderful characters for me to write a proper review – but I would be remiss not to write about his grandfather. A man who lost the love of his life far too early, his grandfather was a proud, respected veterinarian in the area with deep roots. Kevin learns values by working alongside him during the day and then listening to him and his friends have evening chats on his porch.
Scotton tells a unique story that kept me up late many nights because the characters stuck with me. As the reader, I felt like I developed with Kevin. As he discovered more about his family’s history, I discovered more with him. I believe that it takes a great writer to do that, to make the reader anxious, angry, sad, and feel redemption with the characters – but I felt all of those emotions and more.
No spoilers in this review, but I will say that what I loved most about this book is the message of compassion and empathy. We do not know other’s struggles, but having love for them is the most important thing that we can do to survive as a community.