There are a lot of novels that have been written over the years about family dynamics. Some of the more popular ones in recent years include: The Hour I First Believed: A Novel
by Wally Lamb and Carolina Harmony by Marilyn Taylor McDowell. However, none of these have really struck a cord with me. Perhaps it is because they have been based far in the past, or in places that I have never been. Or maybe it is just because I could never relate to the characters and story. Therefore, when I got a copy of the recently published Jack Rabbit Moonby Dorraine Darden, I had a little trepidation. Although based in the present-day and taking place in Texas, I was still a little cautious. However, within a few chapters I put aside my hesitation and delved in; so much so that when I went to New Mexico for vacation it was the only book I took.
Long story short, I finished the book on the second day of vacation. Marnie Evans is the spunky, self-determined little girl that Dorraine weaves a tale of family hardship, natural beauty, and true friendship around. Finding refuge in the wilds of Garner State Park from her alcoholic mother and her abusive boyfriend, Marnie delves into the beauty and solitude of all of natures bounty. On her wandering journeys through the woods Marnie encounters “Ranger Rick,” the Park ranger who along with his wife, takes Marnie under their wing and shares with her the life she is missing at home.
The story could end here – and most readers would be content if it did – but this is just the beginning. There are flash floods to deal with, crazy college kids who cause problems in the park, the return of Marnie’s father, and the shooting of Marnie herself. Making sure these various threads fit with the larger story is no small feat; but when they do it is the work of a skilled writer. Dorraine Darden does an excellent job, weaving together a rich tapestry that any serious reader would be pleased to read.
Jack Rabbit Moonis not the typical novel on family dynamics and misfortune. Rather, it is a fresh tale on the healing power of nature and friendship. Told from multiple perspectives, Jack Rabbit Moongives the reader a heart warming tale fit for our times. When the world is in chaos, corruption is rampant, and good deeds seem like a thing of the past, Jack Rabbit Moonis a refreshing read.