The Boy Who Loved Rain


I didn’t realize I had accepted the review of a book written by a pastor, poet and missionary who lives in Normandy, France. But opening  the book to find an epigraph written by Paul Tournier, and finding passages of text pertaining to faith, made me glad I had.

Fiona and David’s fourteen year old son is at the heart of this story about family. He vacillates between temper and apathy; he stays up late into the night and sleeps until noon the next day. He has trouble at school getting along with others, and his parents are often called in to speak to the administration. He wakes in the night with horrific nightmares about trying to save a sister he doesn’t have, a scenario in which he can find no sense. He has hidden a suicide pledge, sealed with a bloody thumbprint, behind a painting in his room. Something is terribly wrong.

His mother, in utter desperation, flees London to a little coastal town in Brittany named Portivy, on the peninsula of Quiberon. Her friend Miriam lives there, and with her wisdom Colom’s story is slowly revealed. It is the first time he is fully aware of his past, for his childhood was a darkly shadowed one; a childhood his parents thought best to leave undisclosed.

But when have secrets ever been helpful? When truth lies hidden, pain has the time it needs to grow until a near Herculean effort is required to vanquish it. This effort is what is required from both of Colom’s parents as they face their past and what they have left untold to their beloved son.

I was moved to discover that author Gerard Kelly uses the story of Jairus in the New Testament to address Colom’s situation in his novel. When he sees Jairus’ utter despair at the apparent death of his daughter, Jesus comes to bring her to life again. Miriam reminds Fiona that Jesus sends all of the adults out of the room and focuses on the daughter alone.

“An adolescent in crisis is always a family in crisis,” Miriam continued, “but adolescence is about identity; about becoming an individual. My thesis suggested that healing can’t begin until we acknowledge the child as the subject of their own story: the actor in their own journey. The adults who have held the child as the object in their story must let go. It’s the whisper of identity they’re waiting for. Life, spoken into them again.” (p. 223)

Can anything be harder than being a parent? In the best of situations, it requires endless patience, forgiveness, and hope. It requires taking the focus off of one’s self and letting the “child” stand on his own. My son is 24, and I’m still practicing this every day.

Other important things that Kelly includes in his novel are:

  • John Tavener’s  Ikon of Light, a beautiful piece of sacred music
  • a reference to a 300 year old text written by Jean-Pierre de Caussade (quite possibly from The Sacrament of The Present Moment: “The present moment holds infinite riches beyond your wildest dreams but you will only enjoy them to the extent of your faith and love. The more a soul loves, the more it longs, the more it hopes, the more it finds. The will of God is manifest in each moment, an immense ocean which only the heart fathoms insofar as it overflows with faith, trust and love.”)
  • a painting by Kandinsky named Farbstudie Quadrate
  • a quote pertaining to rain which precedes each chapter, from sources that include Garth Stein’s Racing in The Rain, Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, and Elie Wiesel’s Dawn.

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to read this book, to reflect on parenting, and childhood, and the necessity of truth under any circumstance. Thank you to Gerard Kelly for reminding us that uncovered secrets and forgiveness are the tools we need for healing. He blogs at and is the founder of the twitter prayer stream @twitturgies.

14 thoughts on “The Boy Who Loved Rain”

  1. Oh, I think this one sounds good. A thoughtful book it seems. You know, I love mysteries and thrillers, but I think the books I love most are the ones that here and there contain a paragraph or a sentence that I can ponder on. Like a Bible verse. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one!


    1. I completely agree, Kay. There’s nothing like a thriller for entertainment, for a distraction, for something to read after something boring. But, give me something to contemplate any day, something of deeper meaning and worth, and I’ll be happiest.


    1. I love reading books with Christian foundations underneath. (Although many books specifically marketed for a Christian audience are terribly written. I mean, terribly.) Thanks for reading the review and being such a faithful commenter, Suko.


  2. Your’s is now the third review I’ve read of this one in the last few days, and it seems to be a book that is slowly making it’s way up my wishlist. There have been times when religious messages or themes get in the way of a story, but this one seems to be a perfect blending of the two.


    1. I saw on your blogroll that a few of your bibliophile friends were reviewing this; one in particular felt a bit resentful about how it cut into her reading time which is something I can relate to when it comes to agreeing to do a specific review. Still, this was one I read with a certain amount of satisfaction. I have personal aspects of my life dealing with parenting, and probably for that reason more than any other The Boy Who Loved Rain spoke to me.

      No one likes religious messages pounded down their throat, and Kelly does an excellent job of conveying a message of hope. Which is what it’s all about, as far as I’m concerned..


  3. Is this marketed as Christian fiction? I agree with you on Christian fiction. I love when a book has Christian foundations, but the current genre is discouraging. This sounds different. I’m curious.


    1. I don’t think it’s marketed as Christian fiction, but the theology and truths are spot on. It was a refreshing read, and I think you’d enjoy it. I’d be glad to send you a copy if you email me your address


    1. The thing that startles me, and sometimes scares me about what I may or may not have said in my classroom, is how well children remember! A single moment, or sentence, which had no consequence in my mind, is huge in theirs. It makes me try to think before I speak as much as possible.


  4. Parenting is tough, that’s for sure. My son is 13 and being his mom is the best and hardest job I’ve ever had.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour for this powerful, touching book.


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