Why I Liked When Crickets Cry

When my mom sent me a Valentine’s package last month, it included pink leopard print socks, heart-shaped cookie cutters, and a copy of When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin.  I was already in the middle of a couple of books, so I put it on my (way too full) to-be-read shelf.

Leading up to Spring Break, I had been reading a lot of nonfiction (mostly Malcolm Gladwell) and decided that I wanted to read some fiction during my week off.  Nothing else on my shelf was catching my interest, so I picked up When Crickets Cry.

What I didn’t realize when I picked up was that it was a Christian book.  Normally, I’m not a big fan of Christian fiction.  In fact, I don’t think I even own any other than Francine Rivers’ Mark of the Lion trilogy and Redeeming Love.  It’s just not my thing.  I find most of it cheesy and predictable and not at all like real life.

That was not the case with Charles Martin’s book.  It actually took me awhile to realize it was a Christian book because his references of God and scripture seemed to fit so well with the characters and the Southern setting.  His Christian characters were not sicky sweet, or domineeringly legalistic, which was refreshing.  When they quoted scripture, it seemed natural, not forced or preachy.

I think the best part of the book was that the characters seemed like real people with real problems.  From reading the descriptions of his other books, Martin likes to write about broken people in need of redemption.  Since that’s kind of who we all are, it works well.  Some of the events in the plot are predictable, but I didn’t mind because Martin had made me care about his characters and what was going to happen to them.  And it wasn’t predictable in a bad way; more just in a this-is-the-way-life-works way.

As a bonus, Martin also has a beautiful way with words.  Some of his passages about rowing and nature were just breathtaking.  I actually folded down pages to mark some of those passages, something I haven’t done in a book in a long time.

All in all, I would recommend it.  Keep some Kleenex handy though; it’s a tearjerker.

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  • A collection of ramblings and musings on Jesus, life, education, family, and anything else that pops into my head.

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