Home to Harmony. Philip Gulley. 2002. HarperCollins. 225 pages.
When I was in the second grade, my teacher, Miss Maxwell, read from The Harmony Herald that one in every four children lived in China. I remember looking over the room, guessing which children they might be. I wasn't sure where China was, but suspected it was on bus route three.
One of the best, best, best books I've read lately. One of those books that had me at hello. It may not appeal to every one. I suppose you might say it is a little sentimental now and then. But. It is truly one of those cozy books that make you feel oh-so-happy. Or, I should say it made me feel oh-so-happy. There were chapters that had me laughing--really laughing hard. There were chapters that had me close to tears. And almost every chapter had something worth quoting. I realized this right away and didn't even try to mark them all. (Some books are like that.)
So the premise of this one is simple. Sam Gardner lives in the small town of Harmony. He went away--to school, to seminary--but now he's back. And unlike some in the town, he's very happy to be back, very happy to be living in Harmony. He understands--better than some--why it may not be a town for everyone, but to him it's right where he wants to be.
The book is a collection of stories. Some set in the past, some set in the present. The stories are arranged by season--spring, summer, fall, winter. And the stories are about the community, the people who live there or who have lived there. We meet Bob Miles Sr. and Dale Hinshaw. The narrator is a Quaker minister.
My favorite stories were: Miss Rudy, Wilbur, and Friday Nights; Burma-Shave; The Birds and the Bees; This Callous Pride; Mutiny; The Twins; Miriam and Ellis; and The Spelling Bee.
"He had been inoculated with a small dose of Christianity, which had kept him from catching the real thing." (51)
"When love takes you by the hand and leaves you better, that is home." (63)
"The Dale Hinshaw Effect is simply this: If there is a bad idea to be thought, Dale Hinshaw will think it." (67)
© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews