Let It Be: Chad Gayle
Let It Be: powerful words with multiple meanings behind them. Sometimes life takes people down more than one road. All too often there are obstacles blocking the path and times of darkness as the song says. But, simple actions take on new meanings for Joseph and Pam Jansen as their mother Michelle decides to carve out a new life for them. Texas was where she decided to set up their new home, Amarillo, to be exact. Lacking a college education and the skills for a lucrative paying job, Michelle works hard at just getting anything to support her family on her own. Secretarial and filing would be her responsibilities, reporting to someone that was not exactly understanding of her plight and dealing with an abusive ex-husband bent on making her life even more difficult some people cannot truly as the song says: Let It Be!
Joseph seems to be centered in many different ways. A great son, always looking to help his mom he immerses himself in learning more about the solar system, the cosmos and outer space. Viking missions to Mars, comets, fantastic machines, crystal spires and wanting to explore the outer reaches of space, Joseph seems to be off into his own world in order to hide at times from the one he lives in. Sister Pam, although a smart and helpful young girl, wants some freedom of her own, is supposed to monitor Joseph while Michelle is at work, and manages to break a few rules, speaks her mind only to realize that she is sorry in the end.
Escaping from the real world is not unusual for kids that want to create a better and perfect world for themselves when the one they live in falls apart. Filled with curiosity and wanting to learn more space, Joseph creates his own pictures of the galaxies, the stars and perhaps his own map to freedom if he ever builds a ship to take him to places unknown.
Science seems to be his strong point and although he is so bright you hear his inner most thoughts as he tells part of the story and then we hear Michelle. Visiting her brother Charles , watching the kids swim Michelle is able to share her insecurities, her fears and much more. “Whisper Words of Wisdom,” powerful three words and many different thoughts about what they mean as we learn more about Michelle’s plight here her hopes for a better life and hopefully her words of wisdom will guide Joseph and Pam on the right path but will Bill, her ex-husband ever Let Her Be? Will he stop calling her at work and will he ever get out of her life?
Each character has his/her own distinct voice as their story unfolds, their feelings are shared, and their fears and hopes for the future are just in the distance. Which will win out in the long run?
A letter from her ex-husband weights heavily on her mind where he rips her apart, tries to unleash anger and then hopefully she will fold under the pressure of his words. But, Michelle is strong and her reaction quite unique as she realizes that not all broken hearted as the song says will live in a world and agree.
What makes this novel so unique is that the author allows readers to hear the thoughts of each character. Michelle expresses her feelings about meeting Dan, her inter-office relationships, her spats with her children and her brother coming to the rescue. Next, we learn more about Dan, his feelings for her, his place in the company where she works and his hopes to spend their future together. But, like everything else there has to be one thorn in every rose bush and Bill, her ex-husband does everything in his power to irritate, infuriate and alienate her in every way from those that care for her. On the pretense of trying to repair their damaged marriage, he writes her a long letter, tries to speak to her when picking up the kids but the end result is a violent confrontation and Michelle takes a harder stand. But, Joseph is not happy with his mother’s new found freedom, relationship or even her smile which he seems to resent and what he does next will not only surprise readers but Michelle too.
The sound of music in the car when they go out for McDonalds, the laughter that used fill the air when watching television together and the closeness they once had seems to disappear and the “the light that shines on me, (Michelle) might shine until tomorrow,” if everyone would learn To Let It Be! But, can they? One young man’s decision to take matters in his own hands would prove harmful for more than one person. As his mother’s world fell apart and his part in its demise comes to light we hear from Joseph as when he is much older, when he recounts what happened as a result of his father’s actions, his take on the song Let It Be and the one present that his mother gave him that would change the course of his life. Although their lives seemed to settle back to where they were when they arrived in Amarillo, some specters or shadows linger on and the fear that something would happen would hang over Joseph, along with his guilt like a permanent black storm cloud.
The chapter titled Let It Be allows readers to really hear Joseph’s voice understand his feelings, his relationship with his father and trying to reconcile his thoughts about what happened between his father and Dan. Hoping that his father would no longer be a threat to his family, he hoped to find someone to reassure him.
Events that are related will definitely surprise the reader and what Michelle finally does will change her life forever. Betrayals that she had to find in her heart to forgive, love that came and would always stay within her heart and mind and a family torn apart because one man could not LET IT BE!
Learning more about this song would help me understand this story and the rationale behind why Paul McCartney wrote it and its meaning. “When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me.” Mary was his mother’s name and speaking words of wisdom: let it be. In a world where there is so much violence, hate and anger and as he states “When all the broken-hearted people living the world agree, there will be an answer, let it be.” Joseph spent many years trying to find his way back into his mother’s heart, understanding his father’s actions and deciding how to reconcile and deal with what he did. When you read that final chapter, hear his voice and learn what happens to Michelle, Joseph, Pam and Dan will wonder if they ever learn as Joseph finally does that the meaning of this song it his mother, what she sacrificed for her family and the final whispered words of wisdom when Michelle realizes that memories are precious and for now she hopes it will be okay to just LET IT BE!
Author Chad Gayle takes us back in time to when this song was written, as someone close to Michelle, presents her with his special disc, helps her to find some peace, understand her future and hopefully embark on a new life. But, the events that are related by this outstanding author in the final chapter remind readers of the love that parents have for their children, their ability to forgive, their understanding of what can and cannot be and the hope that one family can find their way back together. This is a definite must read. The characters are vividly depicted. Both Joseph and Pam’s reactions are true to life and realistic and Michelle’s transformation throughout the novel makes you wonder what is in store for her and her family beyond the words and meaning of : LET IT BE!
Fran Lewis: reviewer