This collection of short stories illustrates, in the words of the author, “that stressful events can happen with little or no warning.” With that as a basis for each story, McGill has written a collection of tales of faith in God and Jesus Christ and its importance in meeting everyday – and often unexpected – challenges. The stories would be perfect for a Sunday school class of adolescents, who will be able to relate to the plucky characters and situations. Although the stories are fictional, they have the detail that suggests that many have been drawn from the author’s own childhood memories.
McGill is particularly taken with two real-life events that occurred in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, where she lives. The Columbus Day Storm on October 12, 1962 and the Christmas week flood in 1964 form the backbone for two of the longer pieces in the book. The Columbus Day stories center on the memorable character of Mrs. Stelleno, an elementary school teacher who “took pride in her starched dresses and tightly pinned-curled gray hair – a fashion that was once popular, but long since out of style.” Mrs. Stellano’s students are among those caught up in the storm. In the Christmas week flood, McGill changes up her style, telling the story from the first-person point of view of Mr. Smith as his neighborhood attempts to flee the rushing waters: “Lilli and I didn’t have much time to pack, why, we didn’t even know where we’d go after Junior told us that stayin’ wasn’t an option.”
McGill has an engaging writing style and stories worth telling. However, she often works overtime to make her preconceived “moral lessons” fit the tale — whether they do or not. With a little more faith in herself, McGill might have recognized her own ability to spin a good story and left the discussions about morals to the Sunday school classes that would enjoy reading them.
Also available in ebook.