Monday, December 31, 2012

Welcome Back to Pie Town by Lynne Hinton

Obviously Welcome Back to Pie Town is the sequel to Lynne Hinton's contemporary story Pie Town. Our story picks up months later as Father George and the townspeople have rebuilt the church which has become a welcoming place for all the townspeople, Protestant, Catholic, and doubters, alike. 
So it is not a surprise when Father George awakes one day to find someone sleeping in the church.  He is, however, shocked to see that it is Trina, the young woman whom he gave a ride to on his first day in Pie Town.  Now she is sleeping on the santuary floor, with her young daugher beside her, and she obviously is hurt and needs medical attention.  When Trina explains what happened and begs Father George not to call the authorities, he has little time to ponder his decision.

Meanwhile, Raymond Twinhorse awakens to shame and confusion, only vaguely remembering a night of drinking and violence.  A returning vet, only months earlier he had been hailed by the town as their hero, but his days and nights are haunted by sounds and actions he wishes he could forget.  Unable to face anyone, Raymond takes off into the desert on his own.  When a local bartender discovers a break-in, he points the finger at Raymond, and Sheriff Roger is drawn into a hunt for the young man by Federal authorities who are sure that the break-in is tied to drug activity in the area.

Behind the action of this story is the bigger story of PTSD and how it devastates the victims, their families, and even their communities.  While authorities see a potentional criminal, key community members decide to place their faith in the pre-war Raymond and fight to get the young man help.

I actually liked this book better than Pie Town, the original.  I knew most of the characters and reading about their lives was like connecting with old friends.  It also felt like the first book was a coloring book outline, and this book is the same basic picture, colored in and with artistic details added.  Author Hinton, through her characters, critically examines the cost of  our recent "war actions" in human lives.  Listen to the words of Francine, one of those villagers who decides to support Raymond, " We don't want to think that as the most advanced nation in the world we send healthy, bright, functional teenagers over there and they come back broken, changed, lost.  We want to think our national pride, our flag-flying patriotism is enough to keep our children from breaking under the stresses of battle." (141)

While I could give Pie Town a weak recommendation, mainly because I have liked Hinton's earlier titles, I can and DO give Welcome Back to Pie Town a much stronger thumbs up!  And check out Lynne's website to see a complete listing of her books  I just saw a couple that I've never read and two sound very compelling, not like any of her other stories!! I just love that!  More to read.

PS.  Welcome Back to Pie Town ends with some very tasty recipes from the diner of Pie Town.  And, unlike in the first book, our diner serves great pie!

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