Where Is Home?
The Red Journal by Deb Elkink is a powerful epic tale of families, roots and belonging. It is part of The Mosaic Collection.
The book follows three women who are all searching for the truth. A young woman is searching for historical facts for her thesis. The other two are searching for family and fulfilment.
Family is important. We all want to be loved and to belong. Sometimes our earthly mothers let us down. We feel abandoned. Others may step in to take their place. There is a beautiful grandmother-granddaughter relationship. A grandmother’s love is unconditional. “Gram loved Libby when there was nothing in it for her.” This reminds the reader that God’s love for us is unconditional. He loves and delights in us because it is His nature to do so.
Death leaves a chasm in lives. The reader witnesses the granddaughter trying to cope by resurrecting her memories. Memories are powerful things. They can unlock a past we did not even realise we had hidden.
There is the theme of forgiveness. It may be hard to do but we need to reach beyond ourselves and forgive because we have been forgiven. We must extend the hand of grace. “Libby couldn’t earn such grace – it was all because of Gram’s sacrificial nature.” Gram is a representative of God as we see love in action through her memory… she had died before the book opened.
One character is desperate to find meaning for her life. She looks in all the wrong places. We all have a God-shaped hole inside us. We can search all we like but if we do not fill this hole with God, we are wasting our time. To quote Solomon, ‘it’s all meaningless.” Only God can satisfy. “Belief itself doesn’t get a girl anywhere. It’s what she believes in that saves her.”
History and heritage are important. A journal reveals a heart and glimpses into the past.
The novel looks into the history of the Cree tribe. The Native Americans suffered prejudice in the nineteenth century but some rose above it and extended a helping hand.
The characters were well drawn and likable. I loved the fact that two of the main characters were not in their first flush of youth… one in her forties and the other was fifty five (the same age as me!)
The Red Journal was such an epic read. It took me a while to get into it but when I did – wow, what a powerful read! I will leave you with my favourite quote:
“Belonging… wasn’t about skin colour or bloodline but about heart attitude.”
I received this book for free. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.