Amy Belding Brown, |
Flight of the Sparrow
(New American Library, 2014)
A story of fear, courage and the misuse of God in early America, Flight of the Sparrow encapsulates a time period that none of us today can fully understand. Mary Rowlandson is a devoted English wife, married to a pastor, when she is abducted by Indians in a raid on her town. The atrocities that she witnesses during the raid and the death of her youngest daughter ignite disgust and abhorrence toward her savage captors.
Mary spends her first days captive praying and hoping to see God's will appear before her. Instead, she sees tiny miracles in the mercy that is bestowed upon her by the Indians. Only knowing them as the most ruthless and savage people, she questions these gifts and searches her soul for an answer. Her only consolation is in the freedom she feels in the depths of the forest and in the hypnotic dances that the natives revel in. Even in the misery of winter, and in the midst of starvation, the Indian way of living blooms in Mary's heart.
The true meaning of freedom is turned upside-down and flipped on its head in the dichotomy of English and Indian living. Society, religion and loyalty present the pastor's wife with conflicts of the mind, body and spirit. Amy Belding Brown based these characters on the lives of real early-English settlers and was able to dissect a conflict that exists within us all. Our country was founded on freedom, but the true meaning in the word exists in the savage ways. Brown's sparrow is a beautiful representation of the journey our souls must venture to be fully satisfied.
Venturing to a time long ago, Brown allows a seemingly dull piece of history the chance to take flight. Without making any specific comment on religion, she gives nature and independence the spiritual platform that it deserves. Flight of the Sparrow is an enlivening piece that inspires awakening and renewal for us all.
book review by
10 May 2014
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