Once in awhile, one comes across a special book with a truly unique voice; one that hasn’t been repeated, paraphrased, copied or derived from obvious inspiration. Ironically, I found just that in a book about a young boy with no physical voice at all.
The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow, by Rita Leganski, is a sad, sweet and hopeful story about holding on and letting go, about the strength and endurance of love, and the ability of one seemingly disabled child to change the lives of many. Bonaventure Arrow is a boy who was born without the ability to speak, but in exchange he is endowed with the most exceptional hearing imaginable. Just think what it would be like to live in a world where hearing flowers grow, hearing colors and smells and emotions is natural and innate. Beyond that, imagine hearing the voices of those no longer of this earth. Bonaventure’s lack of speech and his super hearing are each both a blessing and a hardship, serendipitous to the outcome of several lives.
Set in a surreal and mystical Louisiana of the mid-nineteenth century, Bonaventure’s story is full of love and joy, as well as desperate sadness and longing for the impossible. Little Bonaventure is destined from birth to right the wrongs of many and set free the victims of guilt and self-blame who are near to his heart. His inability to speak gives him a different and more truthful perspective of just about everything. He uses this to his advantage and listens hard for signs that he is on the right track, signs that would be imperceptive to anyone else; and he does it with a grace that would be unusual for an adult, much less a child. The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow is an interesting combination of romance and mysticism, captivating and compelling to the end.
Alysia lives in Metro Detroit with her husband and four children. She writes about family life, parenting issues, and other things of interest to her on her blog, Michigal.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Harper Paperbacks. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.