This story is told from the point of view of Lyle, the eldest son of Sydney Henderson. Through his words, we learn much of the towns history and how his family came to be viewed so harshly. Lyle describes how his own life has been affected by both his father and his grand-father’s actions. However, the event that overshadows much of Lyle’s life happened before he was even born. His father Sydney, at the age of twelve made a promise to God that he would live a life of gentle, passivity. It is because of this, that Lyle comes to believe the family’s problems have evolved. At first, he agrees with his father and shares his faith, but as he matures and experiences firsthand the cruelty of mankind, Lyle begins to suspect that fighting back is the only way to survive. But does this make you just as bad as your attackers, or does it even matter, when all is said and done?
It would be all too easy to label this as a classic tale of good versus evil, but the depth of this story cannot allow that. There is no good or bad guy present here, all the characters, and all their actions, contain so many different shades of gray, that while reading you will find yourself at a loss as to just who is in the right. I think that this is exactly what makes Mercy Among The Children, such a powerful novel. The circumstances make you think, force you to consider how you would feel, and then change it up just enough to provoke you to view it from another perspective altogether.
Mercy Among The Children was not a book I found particularly easy to read. It shows an ugly side of people and life, but this is one of it’s strong points. The struggles of life are not pretty, and this book shows that in brutal honesty. I liked that the characters all had certain disagreeable characteristics, because it relates well to the real world. We all know that behind most seemingly perfect people, there is bound to be at least one not so nice thing about them. For me, a story is made by the characters it contains, and this novel contains a large cast of original and believable personalities, that pull this story together into something amazing. Character study, family saga and community overview are collectively joined by David Adams Richards smooth writing and provide an extremely stimulating read....Continua