Saturday, August 8, 2009

Coffee Shop God

Coffee Shop God is a straight-forward account of unfathomable loss where an honest soul is bared, a universal truth is wrenched from the gut of the author and the reader is left holding an unexpected gift.

Therese Bartholomew's book Coffee Shop God is an emotionally raw and surprisingly honest account of the days and weeks that follow the fatal shooting of her beloved younger brother. In this collection of essays, Bartholomew writes the things one might think, but would probably never speak aloud. "Dad knows, like all of us, that Joe is the son who should be dead.-the middle of the night phone call son." But she doesn't leave herself out of this because later as she looks around at her family, she writes, "I wonder, if they, like me, are running down a list of people they'd rather see dead. I blink slow and heavy and wonder if I'm on their lists."

The reader experiences the horrific late night phone-calls, the funeral arrangements, the police investigation, a courtroom encounter with the sister of her brother's killer and even scenes from the author's living-room; scenes we all have anxiety over but most of us have never experienced first-hand. Bartholomew speaks to us in heartache and humor revealing a refreshingly brave humanity. Her story is so redemptive, in the most unexpected way, that I had to turn right back to the first page and read it again. Then I mailed my copy to a friend and purchased another copy for myself the very next week. Heads up readers..this is at least a three-hanky read.