Last year I found myself captured by this most amazing book, Chasing Fireflies. Maybe it was the title which grabbed my attention as I ardently love fireflies, or maybe it was the soft spot I carry in my heart for children with no families, or perhaps it was author Charles Martin who perfectly carried this book cover to cover with southern idioms. Knowing me, it was the culmination of all three.
Chasing Fireflies, set outside of Brunswick, Georgia, has many plots but each and every one is reconciled to work for the good of the characters (the characters you like!), and you close the book knowing it was worth your time. I am weary to recommend books as tastes differ, but after graduate school I found myself wanting nothing more than the option to select a book of my choice. As a result, this book was the antithesis to international political debate and ethnic conflict.
There is quite bit of metaphor used in the book, and perhaps I read into things, but the father figure, Unc, is heavenly. Here is a bit of Chasing Fireflies from Charles Martin, and Unc speaking to his adopted son,
“…In his hand, he held an empty Mason jar with holes punched in the lid. He stood there a long time turning the jar. Inside, a single lightning bug fluttered off the sides of the glass. Every five or six seconds, he’d light his lantern. Unc’ turned the jar in his hand… He looked at me and his expression changed from one of wonder to seriousness, to absolute conviction. “Chase, I don’t believe in chance.” He held up the jar. “This is not chance.” He pointed to the stars. “Neither are they.” He tapped me gently in the chest. “And neither are you. So, if your mind is telling you that He slipped up, and might have made one giant mistake when it comes to you”–the jar lit yellow-green–”you remember the firefly’s butt.” I was hurting inside and the streaks shining on my face didn’t scratch the surface at telling how much. The laughter walked up behind me, wrapped around my tummy, and tickled my ribs, finally bubbling out my mouth—taking the hurt parts with it. That’s something Unc’ was good at. He gave me his laughter and took my pain…”
After finishing the book, I sat and cried for about 15 minutes. Of course, they were tears of joy. Wishing you the best books possible and check out Charles Martin and Chasing Fireflies at your next stop in the bookstore.
p.s. – Charles Martin is from Jacksonville, Florida and that is where I hail from as well!