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Rainwater by Sandra Brown

Simon & Schuster, 2009

245 pages.

Read Sandra Brown’s Rainwater yesterday and as I was finishing it I was crying. It is so beautifully sad; truly tragic. Another thing to know is that this novel differs from her other works, so if her other romantic and/or thriller novels are not your thing, don’t let this one pass you by.

I am not much into 1930s, depression-era, stories, but this is nicely written. And the person who likes their historical fiction for its educational details this is for them.

I was compelled to continue reading even as it was made evident early on that the character Mr. David Rainwater was dying.  I hate losing a favored character and I would have preferred it end where I could pretend an alternate course, but it was a good ending…before the epilogue.

The epilogue is necessary because the prologue is made important. They frame the narrative as a story told by the female protagonist Mrs. Ella Barron’s son. The frame is a nice cinematic entrance into the story and allows for a nice mystery of its own, but it holds an implausibility. However, the implausibility, the son’s ability to retell the inner workings of his mother, and emotional and physical details of very intimate moments, is relieved somewhat by the narrative style of the whole story. You forget with the 3rd person limited as there is no interruption of “my mother,” “she told me,” or some such. The reader is reminded with the epilogue, and the narrative feels alright until the son says his mother withheld certain information that his audience (and reader) asks about; then you cannot ignore that he is telling this story.

Some of the formulaic may seem distasteful, if you allow those “of course he does” kinds of comments to flit through your mind as you immerse. However, the story is tight and so the interweaving would create tension and complication and possibly some claustrophobia. The “of courses” become less abrasive. It is a nice story; though populated with real ugliness.

If you look for books that features autism/an autistic, and a compassionate eye for the subject, Rainwater does more than flirt or even dabble.

Rainwater is a story that looks at finding life amidst dying and finding a future when none seems readily apparent or available; and possibly looking for meaning in something one might readily dismiss. It speaks strongly of release a freedom from the oppressive.

The character David Rainwater is more than a mere romantic interest for our repressed and oppressed Mrs. Barron. He represents so many things in the story. Primarily, however, he is just beautiful. He is beautiful and I love that you can’t hate him for it.

In the acknowledgments that precede the prologue (yes you should read from cover to cover in order) Sandra Brown is telling the reader that the book differs and that she is grateful to those who supported (and subsequently) published this different work. The reader, by book’s end, thanks them, too. And the reader also appreciates Brown’s willingness to follow a story so lovely and share it even if it isn’t a known bankable familiar.

I recommend the read. Though less “literary”, Rainwater reminds me of Molly Gloss’s Hearts of Horses and The Jump-Off Creek; two books I highly recommend to everyone.

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