An authors' group I have been participating in recently was invited to review a new book by Mike Mabe called Grace from the Fall. When I saw the title, I half-expected it to be a light young adult or teenage romance about a girl named Grace getting over some social embarrassment. I'm sure that had something to do with the predominance of light teenage/YA romance being written by members of the group. :-)
The title, being an inversion of the over-used title (and philosophical term), "Fall from Grace", interested me, so I read the blurb.
Light? Prison is not expected to be a light topic, although the movie, We Are Not Angels is not extremely deep.
Romance? This book could almost be classed as roman à clef.
But grace is definitely not a young woman in this story.
So now you know how I got interested in the book. I checked my schedule and thought I could squeeze in two reads and a review, so I signed up and got an advanced readers' copy.
Starting into the book was a little rough for me. I kept looking for a girl named Grace, and the writing style is definitely on the younger end of the generation gap. :-/
And the opening scene is a painful one, the start of a foot race. (Track was anything but my forté.) But something in the writing kept my attention, and Mike's description of sports from the point of view of a de-motivated youth is accurate, and not excessively painful.
I didn't put it down until the next morning.
About a week later, it held my attention just as well for the second read. (I did put it down twice, for work and to eat.)
The blurb pretty much tells you what is there -- Mike gives a very readable account of how his fall gave him the opportunity to feel and accept the Lord's grace in his life, which opportunity he had somehow been missing on his way through high school. And he shows us a sympathetic view of the people who find their way into prison without romanticizing prison or crime culture.
This is a book that should enlighten the national discussion on crime, prisons, and recidivism. I recommend it, if you have even a passing interest in the subject, and perhaps the more if you don't.
You can find it on Amazon by searching their books for "Mike Mabe Grace from the Fall", or even searching the web for the same.
I'm told that it will be available through other distributors soon.