“…God loves you … He plans for your good, not your hurt. It’s true that things happen in life that seem wrong and are painful, but it isn’t because God likes to see us suffer. He wants to see us grow. He wants us to love Him, to trust Him.” – the preacher
Once upon a Summer by Janette Oke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Josh’s parents died when he was a small child. Ever since then, his Auntie Lou, who was only five years older than he was, took over the role of his mother in the best way she knew how. They lived with Grandpa (Lou’s dad) and Uncle Charlie. And then when Grandpa and Uncle Charlie started talking about marrying Auntie Lou off, Josh wondered what he’d do without her. And then he decided, maybe he won’t have to find out…
“Holes in socks are sorta like sin, Josh. If you don’t tend to them right away when they’re small and controllable, they grow with amazing speed.” – the preacher
(I had to stop reading the book when I came to that quote and ponder it. Just… wow.)
As if that wasn’t bad enough, his great grandma died, leaving his great grandpa a widower. Grandpa and Uncle Charlie invited him to live with them. Josh wasn’t sure what to think about this, but he felt like it would disrupt everything.
Between Grandpa and Uncle Charlie trying to marry off Auntie Lou and a great-grandpa that he had never met coming to stay with them, Josh had a lot on his mind. The big question was, what would he do about it?
“Whenever something comes into our life that hurts us, we do the decidin’—do I let this work for my good, as God intended, or do I let bitterness grow like a bothersome canker sore in my soul?” – Auntie Lou
This story is told from 12-year-old Josh’s point of view. The writing style is so different, which I enjoyed, though it took me a chapter or two to get into the rhythm of it.
Josh’s character was well developed. Without revealing any spoilers, it was a joy to follow his story from start to where he is at the end of the book. He grows a lot. And the ending almost brought tears to my eyes. It was great.
There were too many amazing quotes in this book to list them all, but I think this one was my favorite:
“He could let us go through all of our life, bundlin’ us and shelterin’ us from anything and everything that would hurt us. I could do that with my petunias, Josh. I could build a box around them and keep them from the wind and the rain, the crawlers and the bees. What would happen iffen I did that, Josh?”
I jest shrugged. The answer was too obvious.
“They’d never bear flowers,” said Auntie Lou.
Aaaand the fun doesn’t stop here, because Janet Oke wrote four books in this series – which I have and look forward to reading soon. 🙂 However, I think this book could be read as a stand-alone. Until recently, I didn’t know that this book was even part of a series. If I had, I would have gotten my hands on the other books long ago!