A Book Review
Some books pass through your mind without provoking much thought, or reflection. Others do just the opposite. They are meant to be savored. I place Lament for Spilt Porter in this latter category.
At its heart this is a book about nostalgia. The subtitle is Longing for Family and Home. Larry J. McCloskey explores that longing by reflecting on his own family growing up in the 1950s and 60s in Ottawa, Canada’s capital.
Maybe the book appealed to me because I grew up during the same timeframe. Maybe it appealed to me because for the last 30 years Ottawa has been my home. But I suspect that this book has a more universal appeal, because it addresses the deep longing for home that is in all our hearts, regardless of age or geography.
A Meaningful Read
McCloskey not only laments the loss of his parents, he also laments the loss of their values—values that are rooted in family, church and an unflinching faith in God. Above all else, McCloskey wrestles with the very idea of God—the God that modern society has turned its back on. His is a restless faith, racked with doubt, but seeking God nonetheless. That pursuit is an underlying theme throughout.
If all this seems rather heavy and dour, breathe easy. There’s plenty of humor in these pages, and some unforgettable characters too. But be forewarned: McCloskey packs more meaning into a single sentence than many authors capture in an entire chapter. There’s very little fluff, and plenty of mental nutrition that a reader can draw from every chapter.
If you are still longing for home, this is a most meaningful read.