Wow. I mean, wow. This book is going to end up on my top favorite new reads of 2023 list. Many, many thanks to Katie Hanna for recommending it to me!
Homer Smith, a black twenty-four-year-old handyman from South Carolina, stumbles on a group of German nuns living in the middle of the desert in the American Southwest. He offers to help them fix the roof of the little house they live in and ends up building them a chapel. Homer teaches them better English; they teach him that permanency and belonging can be beautiful.
This book is warm and sweet and good-humored and funny. Do not be shocked if I reread it in the near future. It has such a hold on my heart right now! I have seen the 1963 film that stars Sidney Poitier, and that is also wonderful, but the book is honestly just more delightful yet that the movie is.
Particularly Good Bits:
Homer Smith was not a late sleeper but he did not believe in stumbling around in the half light, waking up birds (p. 29).
He didn't know where or how, but that was a problem of the future and the future was never quite real to him. A man couldn't calculate on time that hadn't arrived, happenings that hadn't happened; he had all that he could do in coping with what was already here (p. 73).
If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: G. Good, clean, wholesome, uplifting book.
This is my 8th book read and reviewed for my fourth Classics Club list AND my 8th book read from my TBR shelves for #TheUnreadShelfProject2023! Oh, what symmetry in that.
*BEAMS* I am so happy you loved this book!!!ReplyDelete
There are so many wonderful things about it, but I think one of my favorite aspects is Homer's friendship with Mother Maria Martha and Sister Albertine. Two very different, very unique relationships, but both special. It cracks me up how Homer calls Mother Maria Martha "the drill sergeant" in his mind.
And I grin every time I think about Homer's indignation when he returns to the valley and finds out that the townsfolk have been laughing at the sisters for insisting he would return. How does the passage go? Something like "Homer amused himself, looking big and dangerous beside the station wagon, scowling at these people who had laughed at his nuns." Love it :D
Katie, yes! The friendships are so realistic and sweet. I loved how he actually left in the book, went off and had a bit of his normal roving life elsewhere, and eventually went back. Such a good bit of character development.Delete
And yes, that bit where he stands by the station wagon looking scary and disapproving of the townsfolk for laughing at "his" nuns was one of my favorite moments too! :-D
Thanks, Cindy :-)Delete
Meeeppp!! I love the movie, so I shall have to find this in my library or somewhere!!ReplyDelete
Catherine, the movie is super super super close to the book, so you definitely should try to find and read this! I picked up a used copy on AbeBooks for under $5...Delete
It sounds very good. I always wanted to see the movie too.ReplyDelete
Lisa, it is excellent. And the movie is too!Delete
I've never heard of this book, nor the movie, but it sounds lovely!ReplyDelete
And I've found out that it has a sequel too.
Fanda, ooh! I didn't know there was a sequel! That is cool -- I will have to see if I can track it down.Delete
This is definitely a lovely story :-) I wholeheartedly recommend it.
Fanda, oh, that makes me so happy! I hope you really love it when you read it. I just had my 9th-grader read it for high school literature last week too :-) Thanks for the shout-out, too!Delete
I've had this book sitting on a wishlist for years. Good to see a blog review about it. Thanks!ReplyDelete
Carol, well, it is very much worth reading. I'm having my son read it for high school lit in a couple of weeks, in fact!Delete