When Mockingbirds Sing Description:
written by: Billy Coffey
What marks the boundary between a miracle from God and the imagination of a child?
Leah is a child from Away, isolated from her peers because of her stutter. But then she begins painting scenes that are epic in scope, brilliant in detail, and suffused with rich, prophetic imagery. When the event foreshadowed in the first painting dramatically comes true, the town of Mattingly takes notice.
Leah attributes her ability to foretell the future to an invisible friend she calls the Rainbow Man. Some of the townsfolk are enchanted with her. Others fear her. But there is one thing they all agree on—there is no such thing as the Rainbow Man.
Her father, the town psychologist, is falling apart over his inability to heal his daughter . . . or fix his marriage. And the town minister is unraveled by the notion that a mere child with no formal training may be hearing from God more clearly than he does.
While the town bickers over what to do with this strange child, the content of Leah’s paintings grows darker. Still, Leah insists that the Rainbow Man’s heart is pure. But then a dramatic and tragic turn of events leaves the town reeling and places everyone’s lives in danger. Now the people of Mattingly face a single choice:
Will they cling to what they know . . . or embrace the things Leah believes in that cannot be seen?
Throughout this story I found myself bouncing back and forth as to who the Rainbow Man really was. To be honest, by the end I still couldn't say with total conviction. Was he born in the imagination of a child who wanted her daddy to be more involved and to notice her? Was he the spirit of God, using her as a messenger? Was he something darker sent to confuse her and the town she lived in? Or was he the embodiment of southern magic and mysticism? I couldn't tell you.
What I can tell you is that this book was well written, with characters that mostly come to life. Leah draws you to her, with her stutter and her isolation and her desire to be loved. You feel her confusion, her hurt, her aloneness. We are reminded of the small towns that still have the "us" and "them" or "away" mentality. Towns in which once the important people have made up their mind about you, nothing more can be done.
I didn't like that everything was referred to as "magic". To be a Christian genre book the connection between what we are led to believe are acts of God and magic is one that I have issue with. In the context though it is easy to see how many in this world might chalk up such things and being magic. I just with the author had made it more clear as to who the Rainbow Man was.
I also wish some of the loose ends had been tied up.
We never find out what happened with the sheriff and the hole outside of town, a bit of magic mystery that made some of the townsfolk more willing to accept Leah's Rainbow Man. We also never find out what happened with Mr. Andy Sommerville. Perhaps their stories will be in later books.
Affiliate Disclosure: I am grateful to be of service and bring you content free of charge. In order to do this, please note that when you click links and purchase items, in most (not all) cases I will receive a referral commission. In addition, many of the books reviewed on this site were received free from the publisher through various book review bloggers programs. I am never required to write a positive review. On ocassion I will review a book that was not provided by the publisher. If that is the case I will note it on that particular post. Otherwise, assume that it was. All opinions I have expressed are always my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”