Mardel's Reviews > Threshold

Threshold by Devin O'Branagan
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Dec 17, 11

Read in December, 2011

I've read a few books by Devin O'Branagan and each book is a bit different from the other. Each book carries strong messages and each one deals with spirituality in one form or another. Threshold focuses on spirituality, religion and near death experience, and well as family relationships and prejudices. It's all in there forming an interesting story of a young boy who drowns, the shaman/family friend who saves him and the family and town that is ultimately affected by events that were set in motion from the day of the drowning. In fact, one could say that things had been brewing even before that day...

Cole is the young teen or preteen who drowns; his drowning and near death experience changes his attitude and pulls him into a journey of thought and self discovery. His older sister, Leah is full of anger and angst. She's almost 18 and has been a surrogate parent to Cole and Rachel, the youngest of the family since their mother abruptly left them years ago. Rachel, elementary aged, has portentious dreams and a serious love of all things chocolate. All of O'Branagan's books feature at least one main character dog, and Wigglebutt is the dog star. And then there's the dad, Ty - who is trying his cowboy best to be a good dad, but the kids don't feel the love.

Other strong characters include Elijah, the Native America shaman, who has strong mystical powers yet he's dealing with his own demons of abstaining from alcohol, with a wife and son who have issues.

The seemingly ideal little town, where the inhabitants are close, have their own problems seething under the surface and Cole's drowning and near death experience seems to uncover these problems. Problems such as complacency, bigotry, depression and alcoholism. A hate group seems drawn to the small town, adding to the mix. Elijah's tribe is divided and committing violent acts on some of their own. The Pastor's wife seems full of hate. The Babtist minister seems just as full of non-acceptance...and on top of everything else, Cole - a young almost teen seems determined to sacrifice himself for the good of many others.

Threshold is the story of how things come to a suspenseful and tragic head, and how Cole's family, Elijah's family and the town seem to become damaged and yet still manage to pull together and bounce back.

Some bad things happen to people - some ugly truths are exposed and yet everyone manages to come to an acceptance and forgive each other. So even though parts of this story may seem heartbreaking, there is that thread of optimism that most of us are so good at keeping.

I enjoyed reading this book. I think in one way or another we've all had to deal with one or more of the issues brought up in Threshold. I'd definitely recommend Threshold for a good fiction read with not one, but a few good messages.

Devin O'Branagan is the author of numerous books, including Red Hot Liberty.
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