In the distant future, in a post-apocalyptic world, there lives a woman named Love. Her life is anything but simple, with the trafficked slave-girl turned adopted-daughter, Clare, and the rest of her family, which includes young twins and a husband who is a key part of a Revolution. But her spiritual gift of Love, which earned her name, along with her knowledge of a wonder-working God, may just be able to carry her through some of the darkest years of her life.
I’ve been a reader all my life. I devour books like they’re candy, rarely stopping to chew them slowly. Thankfully, A Memoir of Love taught me to slow down and savor. The print book is somewhere around 1,000 pages long, and I’ve heard (though I don’t usually read anything on an electronic device) the e-book is much longer. The length alone forces you to break up your reading times. This isn’t a book that you start and finish in the same night (like I usually do with fiction), but rather a book to read over an extended period.
And I have to admit—I fell in love with this type of reading.
The first reason is that the characters become so well-known, they are like old friends. I’ve read some books where, by the end, if someone asked you how the main character would respond to a situation, you’d have no idea. This book, however, draws you into a world that is just enough different from ours to be interesting, and into the lives of characters who are unique, flawed, and perfectly relateable.
And bit by bit, you start gaining information. You find out how Love earned her name, and why she willingly left her old name and old life behind. You find out why Clare responds the way she does, why Thomas is so intertwined with the Revolution, why Tov loves Clare, despite her obvious distrust and the walls she’s built.
The second reason is that it inspired me as a writer. While I doubt that I’ll ever have it in me to write a thousand page novel, the depth of back-story this author created (and shared) made my imagination start spinning. You see, the best writers know their characters all-inclusively. They can tell you the accent they speak with, where they were born, how they got the scar on their left knee, and why they carry the burdens they carry. Whether they share all that information or not is unimportant. The author needs to know it, so their characters are complete and stay in “character” throughout the entire book.
This author has characterization pegged and cemented. She knows her people and knows their stories and knows why and how they respond in any given situation. Not just the good guys, but the bad guys too.
Which brings us to one of my favorite parts about the whole book: while the story is fiction, the author tells one story that is completely true. The story of a God who loves, giving all a chance to be redeemed, right up to the last second. The bad guys who are evil and depraved? He loves them too, and offers them each a chance to turn.
I don’t know about you, but I can use that reminder at times.
Now, while I did enjoy this book immensely, there are a few things that I want to let you know. First of all, A Memoir of Love is something called “gritty fiction,” which means that it is not sugar-coated, at all. It’s reality. So when you hear when and how Clare got trafficked? You hear it all. It’s not pretty. In fact, it’s down right awful. But it’s reality, because it happens to real people all the time. If you read the entire book, the good and the bad, it molds together to show forth God’s grace. But know ahead of time — there are parts where characters swear and are hurt and are sexually assaulted — but also know, that the story is ultimately about God’s great love and redemption.