Gateway Gazette

From My Bookshelf: Send Down the Rain

By Lynn Willoughby

Send Down the Rain ~ Charles Martin

This is a complex book with several stories. The writing is deceptively simple. The stories are not. Joseph is a soul weary, sad and lonely man. We know little about him other than he lives alone in a remote cabin in the mountains. Out wandering with his dog, Rosco, he discovers a terrified mother and her two small children lost in the forest. It is cold and snowy and they are wearing tee shirts. He immediately steps up, gets them warmed and fed in his cabin and on the road to safety in Florida.

The Viet Nam war is the war I remember.  The draft dodgers finding refuge in Canada, the hippie demonstrations against the war, the tragedies of Agent Orange, the spitting upon and other indignities the returning soldiers endured are all well remembered and real to me.  This book tells one man’s story of that war.  It shows us the scars and wounds – both internal and external. It shows what being poor and drafted, forced to kill or be killed, seeing your friends killed and maimed, being angry and full of hate will do to a person. It shows how family, love and friendship are stronger than evil.

Martin has written a terrific novel that has a crowd of vived characters – each with a story to tell.  Some are poor and beaten down, some are in the country illegally, some are liars, some forgettable, some unforgettable.  And he never forgets the value of a good dog.  Mostly there is Joseph – plagued by dreams, by memories of his time in a country he wasn’t supposed to be in, doing things no man should be asked to do, that were then covered up and redacted.

I was laughing, I was crying as I read and I could not put this book down.  “The place where the tears come from is full again.  After not being able to cry for most of my life, I cry now at the drop of a hat.  And to be honest, I like it.” This is my first book by this author, but it will not be my last.

  • The Mountain Between Us
  • Long Way Gone
  • and several others

Who Knew?

Operations in Viet Nam often lasted 30 days or more in some of Viet Nam’s most inhospitable and foreign conditions, filled with Viet Cong guerrillas.  …”without shaving, bathing or changing clothing.”  Returning veterans were spat upon, were not hired, were called “baby killers”, had no support or debriefing, and there were certainly no victory parades for them, or welcome home rallies.

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