Today I am reviewing a book most dear to my heart: Christy, by Catherine Marshall. I've read this book multiple times, so this isn't a fresh-faced review like most of mine have been.
What is this book all about?
Why did a nineteen-year-old girl want to leave her comfortable home to teach in a one-room schoolhouse in an isolated cove in the Great Smokies? Christy Huddleston, "eager to taste life to the full," wanted to do just that. From the moment she steps onto the station platform at El Pano that snowy January morning in 1912, her adventures begin. Not the least of which are the strange mountain customs that shatter Christy's illusions about life and make her face up to herself and what she believes.
I can't really do a "First Impressions" section since this is my fifth or sixth reading of this particular book, so instead, I'll do my overall impressions of this read-through. I simply adore this book. The story is captivating but even more than that Miss Alice's wisdom and Christy's grappling with what she truly believes challenges, encourages, and strengthens me in my walk with the Lord with every read-through.
The characters are vibrant. I feel like I am living there in the Appalachian mountains with these Highlanders. They leap from the page and draw you in to dwell with them in rustic cabins, watching beautiful sunsets and admiring majestic mountains while surrounded by barefooted children and a handful of chickens. That was an oddly specific description right there, but it's true.
And the way Catherine Marshall weaves Christy's questions of faith throughout the story amazes me. Many of Christy's questions are questions I've asked myself, and I can follow her doubts through to her certainty and believe it. A lot of times faith in "Christian Literature" I feel isn't handled well. It's either thrown in as an afterthought or it is unbelievable. Characters leap to conclusions or come to an understanding of Jesus without a natural progression. I, as the reader, cannot make those same conclusions. But that isn't true in Christy. I can follow the questioning of her faith and how she discovers what she truly believes because it unfolds in the most natural and real way.
One other thing I love about this book is how dated it is. I love, not only the very period way that the Highlanders talk (which is dated even for Christy's time) but the way the book itself is written. I'm a huge lover of classic literature, and though this book isn't that old, it shouldn't come as a surprise to me that a story written before the twenty-first century captures my heart in a way that no modern book ever has.
Would I read this book again? Obviously, as this isn't my first reading.
Would I recommend this book to others? Absolutely yes.
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