Easter Sunday: Thomas Holliday
A letter sent to a 12-year boy on his birthday sends him on running away from his father and all that he knows. Anger sets in and what was written in the letter changed everything for Bobby. Trying to run after his son, Hank, decides to let him go on his way. But, the events that follow would haunt him forever. Every parent’s nightmare when his child goes missing. Bobby Green wandered off and found himself in a lost cave beneath a water-drenched swamp of Chesapeake Bay. Hank is terrified, unable to focus at first and then with the aid of Sammy, the chief of the fire department and his team they hope that they can rescue Bobby before an Easter Sunday storm takes more than just his son’s life. What Bobby received within the envelope caused him to say: Never! But Why! Running away and meeting two friends he winds up beneath the water-drenched swamp. Beneath the surface of the earth they manage to send in a mike so that Bobby can communicate with his father, mother and the rescue team. Wanting to learn more about his grandfather and his planting daffodils and other plants, the story centers on the past and is often compared to the present.
Within this town of River Sunday we meet many interesting people whose stories are related as everyone bans together to find Bobby. River, Sunday, Maryland is the town and the author describes the landscape, the trees, animals and area quite vividly. From the moment you open the book you share in Hank’s frustrations, fears and you understand the task ahead. Two stories that run parallel as a father remembers his childhood, events that happened that marked his life, his fear of being closed in and the hope to save his son. The conflict within Hank as he has to decide if he can whether more than just the storm, the surge and the dangers within the cave, but the dangerous within himself as decisions are made and a downed plane has now been found and the foundation of Bobby’s existence in question.
The wildlife, the muskrats and their history, the description of the land and a character named Will whose prime concern is getting that plane back we see the conflicts rising. Cathy his daughter is brave, smart and finds a way to send help down to Bobby to be able to see but will that put her in danger?
The author describes the rescue attempt in vivid color as we feel the surge, understand how the fuselage is where Bobby is might save him and the fact that the whole area is sinking and the water and mud might cause him to sink. But, a father and mother’s love goes beyond what most would do and the hope of a man overcoming his phobia to save his son will win out. With the fear of closed in places hanging in the balance and remembering that his father dealt with the same during the Second World War and his experiences in Vietnam flashed back for readers to experience along with Hank, the author joins forces with the team to rescue Bobby and hopefully bring him out.
One man is only concerned with his own fortune and the plane that his Zinnie flew. But, when the past and the present come full circle and we learn just what the letter said and the reasons behind Bobby’s anger the reader will understand the conflict he faced and the reason why he did what he did. But, as he talks to his father and hopes to be saved each one has to overcome his own battles and fears. The reminder that it is going to be Easter and the Priest coming to talk to Bobby adds a special touch to the novel. What is the secret that Bobby learned about that started this chain of events?
Within this novel I realized that there are many characters whose stories are told just at strategic points when they are about to risk it all to save Bobby. When Melissa his mother is about to go down into the tunnel she reflects on her relationship with her parents and shares her fears with readers. Sammy the fire chief has his own story but when Bobby wants to learn more about his grandfather both Sammy and Hank share the story about the daffodils and plants so that Bobby’s fears will rest for a while as they try to get him to safety. Will’s story is of a different nature as the reader learns about the plane that has been missing and how many people have tried to find it for the reward. When Bobby relates that where he is standing and sought some type of safety just might be the plane, what Will does will startle readers as his prime concern is getting part, all or a piece of the plane for monetary reasons and discounting to a point Bobby’s safety.
Every step of the rescue is described and the voices of each character quite distinct as Captain Steele takes charge and Hank flashes the light and a reality sets in about whether there is hope for his son. Was it Zinnie’s plane that Bobby found? Will justice be served and did Zinnie give the land back to the Old Native Americans that her family took the land from? Will the Nanticokes get reborn again? Will this Easter be a true celebration?
This is a story about how far a father will go to save his son. But, it is more! It is about River Sunday and the people who live and work there and whose stories must continue to be told. It is about love, friendship, understanding, and most of all forgiveness. As Bobby and Hank have to decide about what he learned in the letter about his grandfather, Will have to decide what is really important to him? It is about the power of the surge of water, the mud and about Mudman and Cincy whose friendship went beyond what most would do for a friend. It is about a storm that raged and would engulf River Sunday and possibly wash away more than just their town, their dreams but the hope and life of a 12-year-old boy named Bobby. This is a story that will touch the hearts of everyone that reads it.
Fran Lewis: Just Reviews/ MJ Magazine