My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
When I first discovered this book on Goodreads, I felt I had to read it. Last year, I read a couple of books that were about kids that had different issues that made life a bit difficult. (Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks is absolutely wonderful, I highly suggest it). When I finally bought the book, it took me a while to actually read it. So the other day, I said okay, it is time.
From the very beginning, I was enamored by the character sketches; each character with their own story lines, their own flaws, their own inner demons to face. It was beautifully written. I felt like I could connect with each character. I grew to despise Reverend Goggins, his jealously over the possibly spiritually touched young Leah was interesting and what drove him to his ultimate conflict.
At first, I had absolutely no idea that this book was categorized in the Christian fiction genre. This book is based in a small, rural, Southern, country town. Where everybody knows everybody. If you look the wrong direction, everyone knows. In communities like these, the focal point is usually a church. Which is why I had no clue about the genre. Do I fault it for that? No, not at all. Even reading this book, I never really felt like it was categorized correctly. My heart broke for Leah, the little girl, who was visited by the Rainbow Man on the day of her birthday party. The Rainbow Man stayed with her, through every conflict, every emotional event, urging her to keep telling people they had to believe in the Maybe. Leah even told her friend Allie that things were going to get really bad, and she had to know Allie wouldn’t leave, she wouldn’t stop believing in the Maybe. Each picture the Rainbow Man had her paint, dictated events that rattled the town. People became horrified, angry, some even lashed out and physically hurt this little girl. Out of fear. At one point, her father begged her to tell him and her mother about a particular incident that occurred, and Leah told him that he had to believe because he believed on his own, not because she told him what it is he already knows. Nothing anyone did, could prevent Leah from trying to save the town, even if they didn’t believe, even if they didn’t listen. She knew ultimately, those who chose to believe would be saved. And those who refused to believe, because they couldn’t see, because they were afraid, those people did not make it.
By the end of this story, I had tears. The strength that little Leah had when everyone was against her. Her persistence to keep going, because she knew only she could save those who needed saved. It truly was a wonderful story.