The Flower of Grass
By James E. Robinson

Published by Kregel's Publishing
256 Pages

Back Cover: "John Allen had come back to say goodbye. But he was too
late; there would be no atonement."

John Allen returns to his home town after the death of his alcoholic,
abusive father. He has been gone 16 years and has become a successful
writer, but with major addiction problems of his own. Now he
struggles to make amends with his careworn sister and dropout younger
brother – and, perhaps, to pick up the pieces of his teenage love
affair with Jessie.

But Jessie has grown tired of waiting for letters that ceased to come,
and has married. At cost might their love be rekindled?

An exquisitely written, passionate and thoughtful novel, this is a
classic love story framing deeper themes of mortality and passing
time, the true nature of faith, and the delicate balance of human

REVIEWED: "Life's about living out what's in front of you, and trying to
accept whatever life brings us, one day at a time, as a gift." John
Allen had rushed home as fast as he could, but he was too late. He
missed talking to his father face to face one last time. He wasn't
ready to face his home and the woman he left behind. He has been
clean and sober for about a year now. He was ready - or so he thought
until he got there. It felt like nothing had changed, but at the same
time everything had changed.

Fear, shame, failures and memories flooded his mind. He wasn't
prepared for the memories that hit him when he moved into his father's
cabin; nightmares of his childhood and other demons haunt him there.
This was the pain that made him leave home in the first place. He
thought he had dealt with these demons, but here they were, up close
and personal and on a new level. Can he get through this sober? He
didn't have good feelings about this. Then there is Jessie, the love
of his life. The love that he left behind. He just wants to talk with
her and say he's sorry and finally say goodbye. She deserved that
much. They just needed to clear the air so that they both could move
on. It's been many years, many broken promises. She was married now.
He knew that, but they still needed to talk.

Maybe it would be best to send a note to Jessie. This way he wouldn't
invade her space and it would be her choice to contact him. After
all, Jessica has been married 6 years. He just thought he would say
he's sorry and try to explain. He had written her letters in the past
he just couldn't mail them. Jessie is not the only one that he's hurt
in his absence. His siblings share their own pain with him and what
they have been through since he was gone.

This book is powerful and very real in its message. This is a slice
of life that shows lost love and the bitter affects that addiction has
on everyone's life. Johnny returns home to something he didn't
expect; he is welcomed with open arms and he didn't deserve any of it!
He had left so much behind – the ones he loved are the same people he
couldn't face because of what he had become. They showed him a love he
didn't deserve. It was almost overwhelming. He had learned that "life
can be so cruel and mean" – pain is part of life. Without pain, I
reckon we might take all the beauty for granted. Then love finds us.
Love was new for Johnny.

Johnny finally comes to the conclusion that "No one person can save
us. Only Jesus can." Johnny also realizes when he says "Something
happened to me; I lost who I really was, lost everything true. You
wouldn't have liked me. " That's why he stayed away. But, none of his
past seemed to matter to his family and friends.

Johnny has to face the pain of his childhood and the stronghold his
father has on him even from the grave. Will Johnny let his heavenly
Father love him totally? Will he believe what his heavenly Father
says about him or will he still buy in to all the lies? Can he walk in
what Jesus says about him and love?

You will be powerfully moved by this story. It will get you thinking
about the real meaning of love and life. I can't wait to see what
James Robinson will write about next.

Nora St.Laurent
Book Club Servant Leader - ACFW Book Club Assistant


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