Tuesday, August 12, 2008

My Heart Remembers is Not Easily Forgotten

A good book is one that inspires you to learn more about its subject matter. It could also leave you thinking long after finishing the last chapter. It should motivate you to make a change, any change, for the overall good of humanity. My Heart Remembers is just that, a good book.

Centered on the “orphan train” that ran westward from 1854-1929, we are introduced to children that could very well have described the epitome of some of those orphaned long ago. Sawyer shed light on the circumstances surrounding many orphaned children, but even better, the emotions the children experienced throughout the process. She also exposed the fact that there were those that took advantage of some of the children by putting them to work at young ages for no wages, only room and board. That was, if they were lucky. Some orphans ended up on the street, which was even worse.

Orphaned by a fire that claimed the lives of their parents, and then separated by different foster families, Maelle, the oldest, assures Mattie (Matt) and Maggie that she will one day find them and they will all be back together again. The journey back together teaches each sibling how to trust God, and themselves, in a world that they’d each grown to fear and distrust in their own ways.

Kim Vogal Sawyer did not attempt the sensitive and in depth topic of the orphan train and child labor blindly. Her grandmother was one such train rider and instead of becoming bitter by it, chose to open her life up to loving other foster children. In a sense, this is a tribute to the “Helens” of the world.

I can not stop thinking about My Heart Remembers. Maybe it was the vivid descriptions, or the fact that some children have always had to fight to be loved. Or maybe Vogal just struck a nerve of compassion. By any definition, this book is a good one that will leave you contemplating the complicated process of life. And yet, one of the greatest lessons this book teaches is that God has a plan for all of us. That plan will be carried out in spite of our circumstances if we trust him. You will not only read this book, but will want it on your bookshelf to read again.

Bethany House
348 pages
*My Heart Remembers would make a good book club choice*