Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Oak Leaves

The Oak Leaves by Maureen Lang

At first glance, Talie Ingrim is an enviable woman. Her husband is successful in his career, they have a lovely one-year-old son, and she finds out she is expecting another child. Life is so very good.

Talie is happy and content, until she begins reading a family heirloom journal written by one of her ancestors. She also begins to notice differences between her son’s development and other children of the same age in a playgroup. She unwillingly discovers a legacy she had no idea she’d passed on to her son, and perhaps her unborn child as well: Fragile X Syndrome.

In an artfully and lovingly crafted novel, Maureen Lang tells the stories of Talie and her several-greats grandmother, Cosima. Through journal entries in Cosima’s own voice, as well as skillfully-told narratives in both nineteenth and twenty-first centuries, Lang weaves a story that is at once difficult, sad, exciting, heartbreaking, and heartwarming.

The Oak Leaves is a novel that informs as well as entertains. It is both easy and difficult to read: easy in a captivating narrative style that is fast-paced and engaging; difficult in its subject matter of genetics, love, and most of all, God’s grace. The Oak Leaves will stay with me for a long time.

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