Bill Garrison's Reviews > They Almost Always Come Home

They Almost Always Come Home by Cynthia Ruchti
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Nov 30, 2011

really liked it
Read from November 22 to 30, 2011

Cynthia Ruchti's THEY ALMOST ALWAYS COME HOME is a fascinating tale of a woman's journey from despair to hope and from bitterness to forgiveness. Ruchti is a talented author and her writing grabbed me from page one as she introduced Libby Holden as a wife and mother burdened with the overwhelming pain of her daughter's murder a few years ago.

After twenty years of marriage, Greg and Libby Holden lose their daughter to a mindless act of violence. Faced with incredible pain and grief, their marriage and relationship begins to crumble. Now, a few years later, Libby is ready to leave Greg. Greg takes off on one of his many camping trips, but this time he doesn't come home. Libby is faced with many questions. Did Greg leave her before she had a chance to leave him? Had he made a clean break from their remains of a marriage? Or, did something horrible happen to him?

While the police are doing all they can, Libby joins her friend Jen and Greg'd dad Frank on a journey up north to travel the exact trip Greg would have taken in hopes of finding him. While the trip is interesting, even more important is the journey Libby takes as a person. She'd been ready to leave Greg, blaming him for their daughter's death and also blaming him for not grieving the way he should have. But, on the trip, Libby learns the truth about herself, about Greg, and about the nature of grief and forgiveness.

Objectively, this is a great novel. Great story, great voice, wonderful message, satisfying conclusion. Subjectively, I thought the novel dragged a bit as Libby carried on an internal dialogue. If you think about it, nothing much really happens. Husband doesn't come home, Libby goes to look for him. That takes up a vast majority of the book, so what remains is Libby's personal journey, which at times moved a little slow for me. Also, I don't really think the author convinced the reader of the wisdom of Libby, Jen and Frank looking for Greg on their own. I guess they had an idea where he might be, but I really just had to assume that.

Overall, I was immediately impressed with Ruchti's writing, and then the story won me over as well. Libby and Greg are strong Christians struggling with grief and the spiritual message is strong throughout the novel, but not overly preachy.
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