Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Sufficient Grace

Sufficient Grace by Darnell Arnoult

Listening to the voices in her head Gracie Hollman takes off her wedding ring, snips her credit cards, jumps in her car, and leaves everything behind.  Her husband Ed, a solid, everyday kind of guy who owns a tire shop, is at first concerned about her absence, thinking foul play at first, but the abandoned credit cards and wedding ring make him think she’s left him for another man.  He didn’t see that one coming, especially after thirty years of marriage

The story centers on Gracie and how her decision to leave everything behind causes a ripple through several families.  Each family, and each person will find that things have a way of working out because grace truly is sufficient.

Darnell Arnout has created a mesmerizing work which explores grief and healing with sensitivity, insight, and humor. Arnoult masterfully mixes together a variety of characters, who at first have separate stories, yet by the end of the book they are all connected.

One of Arnoult most distinguishable style attributes is taking the everyday and spotlighting it into something  of phenomenal clarity.    For instance, Mattie is becoming increasingly handicapped by her inability to get past her husband’s death. At her family’s insistence she begins to clean out his closet. During the process Mattie tries on her husband’s shoes, reminicsing about much she misses how their feet would lightly rest together at night when they slept.

p. 162:

Mattie will give up the clothes.  She can do that.  She’ll let Sammy put them in some bin and let some other needy soul have them.  but she needs to walk in Arty’s shoes for a while.  Feel her skin slide over the place where his feet have been.  Just for a while longer. She’s got to keep those feet.

This book gave me encouragement to take a batch of people and tumble them together to get a kaleidoscope of character mixing.  I also gained an insight on how levity lightens serious topics.  And food. Writing about food somehow makes painful stiuations like grief, discord, and mental duressl seem so much more palatable.

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