"I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books."

Borges

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

In Perfect Light by Benjamin Alire Saenz


In Perfect Light tells the story of a tormented young man named Andres Segovia and the counselor, Grace Delgado who works to find the source of his torment and rage while at the same time, working through her own torment and issues. As Grace works to save Andres, she saves herself. We meet the most astounding people in this book. There is Mister, Grace’s son, Vicente, Liz and Dave each person searching and finding their own light.

It is a story of how people touch your life, bring sadness, pain or joy to it. Mr. Saenz’ characters are rich and complex, each one’s thoughts and emotions fully illuminated by the intricate tapestry of simple words woven into the most extraordinary sentences.

"They were in a park, and he was studying the look on Liz’s face as she kissed their son. In the light”.

"And then he laughed. His laughter filled the kitchen, then the house. The entire world, it seemed, was filled with this boy’s laugh. And then he let go of Mister’s face, patted his right cheek – and kissed him. “Bendita sea Dios,” Mrs. Rubio whispered.”

These two passages, stuck me as so beautiful in their simplicity, so telling, so rich with wonder that they stopped me, caught me up and blazed with the light of this book. This is a perfect example of what good writing is - to take the ordinary and create something divine.

The book has its dark side as well. We journey to the hell of exploited and abused children of Juarez. We find child molesters seeking new prey and people who look the other way. Benjamin Alire Saenz makes a powerful statement in a gentle, yet powerful way.

I will read this book again and again because of all his books, this is the most exquisite.

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