Book review

Giving God an ultimatum is usually not a good idea. But Dr. Matthew Washton had issues with God even before he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. A lot of things had gone wrong in his life, and he decides to give God one last chance. And now this! Matthew was very ill, and he knew it. It was probably the worst disease in the world. He was slowly dying, brain first. Over time, he was going to forget his wife, his daughter, and his granddaughter, Raven, and everything else. Someday, he would forget how to breathe. Strangely, he found himself with a new sense of humor, and he was deeply emotional. Lots of things were funny. Lots of things made him cry. He was… just not who he used to be. Matthew begins to tell us two stories, one called TODAY, the other YESTERDAY. He’s losing his understanding of today, but yesterday is becoming sharper, and the two stories weave together intricately, sometimes pushing him farther away from God, sometimes bringing him closer. He remembers his childhood: his treehouse; Wendy, his first little girlfriend; his mother; his father; all of which were somehow taken from him, one by one. What had he done that was so bad that his mother had left him when he was a child? Why was his father in a wheelchair and a member of the “Acorn Baptized with the Holy Ghost and with Fire (Matthew 3:11) Church.” Why couldn’t they just be normal like other people? Well, he thought, God just wasn’t helping. The Holy Spirit the church members all relied on so completely, just never came to him. He was left out and alone, and now he was going to lose what little was left, cruelly, piece by piece. YESTERDAY, he became closer and closer to Wendy Winters, the neighbor girl who could run faster than he could despite having a limp. Perhaps Wendy was kind of lonely, too; she had a doll named Elizabeth which she always had in a large pocket of her dress. Wendy and Matthew were children, but he was in love. He married her didn’t he? TODAY he is waiting for her to come home from an astronomy conference. Why does it take so long? But, of course, there was Raven, his granddaughter who loved him more than anyone, who understood him and put up with him when others grew more frustrated with him. She was surely an angel. What would he do if he ever lost her? His memory was going, but something important was coming back to him. Terrible things had happened, were happening, and he hated to think of them. His life was truly hopeless, but there was something enormous coming: there was that ultimatum he had given to God, and God was about to respond.

The Last Time I Saw Raven by Paul Holt

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Author
Paul Holt
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