Where do I even start to review this book? How could I ever do it justice? Every now and then a book comes along that is a perfect fit, that touches your very soul and worms its way into your heart to stay there, whispering its secrets long after you have turned the last page. MIRACLE CREEK was that type of book for me. Not since BEARTOWN have I shed so many tears as I did here! If you have heard about this book (and frankly, who hasn’t), then be assured that the hype is real. There is something in this book for just about every reader. Mystery, suspense, a lively courtroom drama, immigration, parenting, lies .... all woven into a brilliant web that will keep you up at night.
Angie Kim has hit the ground running – with a debut novel that has already wormed its way into the hearts of millions, she has firmly established her place on many favourites lists. This is an author who doesn’t do things by halves. If you’re a parent, MIRACLE CREEK will hit you like a freight train right where it hurts most, because when it comes down to it, parents and children form the centre of this brilliant novel. We all want the best for our children, right? Only who decides what is best? How will our choices affect our and their lives? And what if your child is sick, and in pain, and you’re just trying to stay afloat here and do the best you can?
Told in the forms of a court case, the story starts with the horrific death of two people – a child and a woman – in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber used as a controversial treatment for children and adults with disabilities or conditions resistant to standard medical interventions. A woman, Elizabeth, stands accused of having lit the fire that was the cause of the deaths. But it soon becomes apparent that all is not as straight forward as first thought, as each witness relives the time leading up to the explosion.
It is a rare skill to offer multiple POVs and make each one as compelling as the next. My heart bled for these people as their deepest secrets were being exposed. The butterfly effect of little and big lies. A tiny decision altering the fates of many. I have let this book digest for a few days after finishing it and before putting my thoughts to paper, but still little things keep popping up in my head. The what if’s. The why’s. The what-would-you-do’s. I could write pages and pages about all the things that deeply affected me, but this review would be way too long and contain too many spoilers, so I will just say two words: read it! READ IT TODAY! IMMEDIATELY!
I listened to the audio version of this book, which also contained an interesting interview with the author. It was not surprising to hear that Kim used to be lawyer, which may account for the realism of her courtroom scenes. Like Pak and Young, she is from a Korean background. Like Theresa and Elizabeth, she has tried HBOT for one of her children. With so much personal experience packaged into a fictional story, it practically fizzled with emotion. It all rolled out so vividly in my head that I feel I have been there, listened in, met these people in real life.
Told with heart and insight, this is a powerful, thought provoking and touching novel that will stay in your heart and your mind for a long time to come. It is definitely one of the best books I have read all year, and one I will re-read in years to come and take even more things away with me. I can’t wait to see what the author comes up with next!
Under the guise of a courtroom drama, Miracle Creek is a complex, character-driven novel about life's randomness - luck and bad fortune, unfairness and the human’s complexities. Angie Kim has devised an incredible story that covers relationships, disability and autism, the many facets of motherhood and female friendships, immigration, some aspects of Korean culture and many other things.
The author did a wonderful job showing us the many aspects of caring for someone with a disability and for kids on the spectrum. The guilt, the exhaustion, the driving to this or that doctor and/or therapy, the advocating, researching, implementing strategies, administering treatments, the damned if you do, damned if you don’t and the constant questioning. Of course, you've got those with fewer needs than others. Autism is a spectrum, where some could be put in the "just quirky" category, while at the other end, you have those who will never be able to live independent lives. Elizabeth's son was in the "just a quirky boy category". Her story broke my heart in a million pieces.
Each character's story, their motivations are gradually revealed to keep us fully engaged to the bitter-sweet end.
I could go on about this novel, but I won’t, I’ll just encourage you to read it.
This was a very impressive novel, even more so as it's a debut.