Mark Landis celebrated ten wonderful years with his wife, Sarah, before she succumbed to cancer. Noel, their twelve-year-old daughter, is all that’s left of his family. Two years after Sarah’s death, Mark, who is still having problems coping, decides that it’s time for them to leave Michigan for Wisconsin, but not before secretly burying his most prized possession. Newly relocated at an apartment complex, Mark meets and befriends Bernard, a widower in his 80s. After confiding to Bernard about his clandestine burial, Mark realizes that he needs to retrieve his treasure. Yet it will take a strange encounter with Bernard, serious soul searching, and various conflicts with Noel before he even attempts to return to Michigan.
Reynolds’ debut novel is not what would typically be expected from a story replete with themes associated with grief. Incorporating a narrative hook from the get go, Reynolds grabs readers’ attention by immediately impregnating in the back of their minds an element of mystery (Mark’s buried treasure) amid the grieving process of a father and his daughter. Never forgetting what he left behind, Mark endeavors to move beyond his crippled emotional state. Since Mark’s daily routine appears ordinary, it is only natural to anticipate what comes next. Yet Reynolds keeps her narrative moving by deftly taking readers to the cusp of clichés, many times by using cliffhanger chapter endings that suddenly twist in subsequent chapters.
No doubt, Mark and Noel are each coping in their own way. Yet Reynolds utilizes third person limited viewpoint to zero in on Mark’s thought processes. While he contemplates the people and situations in his life’s journey and deals with his anger toward God, of particular interest is how Reynolds combines Mark’s perception with spiritual symbolism when he reminisces about Sarah, such as the recurring high pitched sounds that are associated with Sarah’s spiritual presence, and Milla, the apartment complex housekeeper, who always wears white (signifying an angel) and seems to knows where Mark is headed even when he doesn’t.
Clearly, Reynolds has created a different emphasis within two dynamic characters. Mark keeps evolving over a period of roughly six years, from an emotionally crippled individual to a man who is able to face life. From chapter to chapter, readers are able to view his slow transition to healing. Concurrently, Noel’s supportive role reflects a coming-of-age character, as she transitions from a teen into a young adult. Mark and Noel transform amid Reynolds’ apt and riveting combination of events, strange spiritual coincidences, encounters with various people, and poignant and thought provoking dialogue.
Reynolds has produced a timeless novel that is a very engaging read for young and older adults. Indeed, Full Circle is not only heartwarming, but also offers a ray of hope amid tragedy.
|Page Count||197 pages|
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