We live in the age of reality television which celebrates dysfunction, and we see so much negativity on-screen and online that often we forget about the thousands of folks out there who face sorrow and worry with grace, determination and humor. The Lord's Bit celebrates those people. The novel also highlights an entity familiar to many. That would be the family farm – what it means to those who live there, why it is so dear to their hearts and what can be done to save it.
The main characters are Leona, a bitter, terrified old woman, who lives alone with her adored and adoring dog, Pansy, on a run-down farm in central Oregon and Chapman Lewis, a badly-burned victim of a nuclear accident, who leads an isolated life because his looks scare people. What brings them together is a rocky, unusable piece of land called by Leona's family – The Lord's Bit. As it turns out, even useless soil has a purpose, and people who seem to have nothing in common can bond over what was originally miscommunication based on fear.
This novel is character driven, not plot driven, and we quickly become invested in the people whose lives are touched by Leona and her problems. There is Jack, her dead husband's best friend, as well as her neighbor who tries to help although he becomes more and more troubled by her hurtful ways. Jack's wife, Betty, also influences the story but not by her physical presence. She shows us how loyal and determined people deal with a loved one's advancing dementia. Jack's son, Will is a farmer married to Millie, a lady whose fear-filled past does not prevent her from being both sassy and compassionate. As waitress at her father-in-law's cafe, Millie dishes out concern and wisdom even though her back aches and her feet hurt.
People grow in this book. Leona learns that she is viewed as a very unpleasant human being, and she does something about it. Chapman learns that getting past his disfigurement isn't impossible when it's so obvious that he is a fine man, and he finds a home for his body and his heart. The Lord's Bit is written by local author, M. A. Moone. She creates characters who, in dealing with their problems, show us how to manage our own.
To learn more about this and other books, visit the Boulder City Library at 701 Adams Boulevard, 293-1281, www.bouldercitylibrary.org