I normally read thrillers but this book was recommended to me. I opened it somewhat uneasily, not knowing what to expect. It is a memoir of a woman’s married life, the arrival of children, the struggles of her life and ultimately the tragic death of one her children at the age of fifteen. Hardly an earth-shaking plot, and yet…there is the magic of Micki Peluso’s pen.
Micki sets the tone early with a quick visit to the kernel of the story and then a drift into the past. Her look at life is wry, sometimes humorous, but never despairing, even in times of tragedy. The pictures she paints are real and clear, but without undue passion or histrionics. She writes with observation and understanding. She writes with…awareness, an astute awareness, an indulgent awareness, an awareness that says, ‘This was my life. This was how it unfolded. No point in getting upset. A story of two teenagers who get married and the life they lived. Pretty ordinary story, huh?’ But this is writing at its very best, in some ways reminiscent of Harper Lee. It captured my interest right from the start and never let go.
The writing seems homespun yet it is beyond skillful. Here we have writing with soul, writing that will tug at the hardest heart. The author’s descriptions of the sea and the land vary from the musically lyrical at one moment, to the harshness of reality at the next. In the early part of the book there are gorgeous little vignettes of the fifties and the sixties, tossed in so casually, but mesmerizing in their impact, especially on this reader who lived through those years.
‘And the Whippoorwill Sang’ is a story told in flashes back to the past from the hospital bed of the dying girl. It is a story of family, of love, of sacrifice, of happy times, of pain, and of the heartache when there comes the news that is no longer any hope for their child. It’s a story that will bring a smile to your face, that will bring tears to your eyes, that will never leave you unaffected. For those who have a family they love, for those who love stories of raw emotion, for those who love quiet but beautifully fluent writing, ‘And the Whippoorwill Sang’ is a book you cannot pass up.