Thursday, March 5, 2015

"My Hands Came Away Red" by Lisa McKay

A teen named Cori goes on a mission trip to Indonesia with a bunch of other teens.  She goes mostly because she broke up with her boyfriend and wants to get away for a while, not because she's committed to spreading the Gospel.  The mission team builds a church, puts on puppet shows for local children, and bonds with their host family.  And I spent the first 80 pages kind of bored.  I kept reading because Kara had written a glowing review of it, and I figured it had to get more interesting.  But it took me a week to get through those first 80 pages.  And then three days to get through the next 300.

Suddenly, the book kicked into high gear.  All the bad things that Cori had kept assuring us were going to happen finally happened.  By now you probably know that I am not a big fan of foreshadowing, and one of the reasons I had a hard time getting myself to read this book for the first 80 pages was that so much time got spent warning readers that Something Bad Is Going to Happen.  I don't want you to tell me that, I want you to show me the bad thing happening.  I had a similar issue with Peace Like a River, which also got really good once it dispensed with all the throat-clearing.

While I didn't love this book, I did like it.  I'm drawn to survival stories where people have to make do with what they can find -- it's why I love stranded-on-a-deserted-island stories like Robinson Crusoe and The Black Stallion and Lost.  So I very much enjoyed the bulk of this book, and I'm glad I stuck with it.

Particularly Good Bits:  

No matter which way I looked, all I saw were pale trunks poking up like giant exclamation marks, forcefully punctuating the end of every thought.  You are lost!  It's just you and the trees!  You'll never make it out!  (p. 154).

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  A hard PG-13 for some graphic violence and bloodshed, life-threatening situations, and mild romantic content.


  1. I am so happy that you enjoyed it! Even if you didn't love it as much as I. (Which is only natural.) After you said you'd read it, I had terribly visions of you trying to read it only to end up hating it and being unable to finish. Have you ever talked up a book that you loved to someone, only for that very thing to happen? I have and it's sadly disappointing. Makes you wonder why I continue to recommend books, I suppose. But I just can't help myself when I love it so much! :)

    Anyway, all that is beside the point. What I'm trying to say is how glad I am that you stuck with it! And yay that you liked it. And yay that you started it at all, based on my ability to be unable to shut up about it. Now I think I should go reread it. It's been a while. :)

    1. My real-life friends and I have VERY different tastes in books, so that happens to me a lot. I'll be like, "How can you not have read Such-and-Such Book?" and give them a copy for Christmas, and six months later they'll be like, "Um, so I tried to read that book..." That even happens to me with my mom, and she probably has closer tastes to mine than anyone else I know in Real Life. Which is natural, since she raised and taught me, lol. Oh, my son and I do have pretty close tastes so far too, mostly because he's been reading a lot of my old books, hee.

      So anyway, I'm really glad I read it. Thanks for not shutting up about it!


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