S. J.'s Reviews > At Home in Mitford (Mitford Years

At Home in Mitford (Mitford Years by Jan Karon
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's review
Aug 08, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: brilliant-averageness, favorites, the-shelf-of-awesomeness, books-i-borrowed
Recommended to S. by: Mom
Recommended for: Everyone to try
Read from August 11 to 13, 2012

At Home in Mitford (The Mitford Years, Book 1) - A small village encapsulated in a novel; you will want to reread so you can visit old friends *5+ Stars**The Gush*
I like adventure, murder mysteries, fantasy, sci-fi, etc. as much as the next guy but sometimes I want something...different. A great book, with great characters, facing all of life's problems-not grand ones but seeing someone make it through the ones that loom large for everyone. This book and its series is that for me. This is not for everyone. If you've lived your life in a big city and never had the privilege of being a part of a small town, you might not understand the charm and beauty of this book. Because, for me, I see people I've met in my life when I read about Miss Rose and Uncle Billy, Father Tim, Miss Sadie Baxter, Dooley, and others. I see people who have touched my life and that makes these characters just a bit more special to me.
Father Tim, the rector of the local Episcopal church, is the main character in the story. A pastor worn out from pastoring others and receiving little of it in return, he is thinking of throwing in the towel. Two years in this very small but very busy town, push him to a better understanding of himself and what he could and should be doing. People enter in and we see them minister to him as well as ask for ministering. Cynthia, his new neighbor, gladdens his heart and makes him think of life choices long buried. Miss Sadie Baxter, the lady of the church, brings wisdom, knowledge, pain, and friendship to him. Each character has something to show you and each are dear in their own way.
Let me make this clear: there will be no gun fights, vampires stalking around and sparkling, no witches and wizards, no space battles, no epic fights of good and evil. Those are for other books. This is the story of a man, a town, and months of their existence together. Not that exciting things don't happen. There is a bit of a mystery at the first, as well as a countdown to a parishioner's death, crisis of faith, health concerns, love and loss, births and deaths, laughter and tears. This is life with all it's pain, beauty, and awe.
Jan Karon takes the ordinary and makes it extraordinary. If I told you what happened in this book, you would say why bother. But her writing, her character's depths - their strengths and weaknesses, her humorous yet poignant look into average people's lives breaths life to this book. You feel as if you've moved next door and can walk down Main Street, smell the flowers, hear the bells, and say hello to all your dear friends. A wonderful journey to a home away from home.
*The Rant*
As I stated above, this book is not for everyone. Still, I do believe everyone should give it a chance. As for some reviewers who say her main character is perfect: that is simply not so. Father Tim has faults aplenty as all men and women do. They are discussed, fretted over, worked on daily, and all too often succumbed to. This is what makes him human and so dear to read about. His struggles are our struggles and we want him to succeed just as we know intimately that sometimes he will fail.
If you have not read this series, pick up this book and give it a try. It's not for everyone, but it just might surprise you. If you've read it but it's been awhile, pick up and visit Mitford again. I always love coming back.

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