Book Review Levi’s Will

6 06 2005

Title: Levi’s Will (fiction)

Author: W. Dale Cramer

Publisher: Bethany House

Other Mind and Media Reviews: Here

Disclaimer: I was not paid to provide this review. All I received was a complimentary copy of the book.

Buy the Book:

Levi’s Will is the story of Will Mullet – past and present
(the present being 1985) and his road as the prodigal son.

We follow the story in two different threads. The 1985 thread tells the “here and now.” A 60ish Will McGruder travels to his hometown in Ohio to attend the funeral of his father, Levi Mullet. With his own prodigal son, 35-year-old Riley, at his side, Will relives his journey to today through cues and memories stirred by the current events.

Will leaves home in the summer of 1943. Cornered by the circumstances of his strict Amish upbringing, he frees himself from not only his “sin” , but the judgement and responsibility that goes with it. He takes along his next youngest brother Tobe for a while. They work to shed their Amishness and embrace life as “English.” But there are consequences. WWII is upon them and Will is of draft age. He changes his last name to McGruder and suits up for the armed forces.

Will’s life seems typical for the time. He serves and survives. He falls in love, marries his sweetheart and they start a family. After the war, he yearns to return to Ohio and make things right. He does return, but things are far from right. Will’s struggle is not only that of a prodigal coming home, but a prodigal who journey’s to find God and repentance.

Through the course of this backtrack through Will’s history, we also learn of Riley’s own struggles. He follows in the footsteps of his own father in leaving his family behind him. But his road is a rockier one, muddled with alcohol, drugs and success. While faith has been a small player in the lives of both men, as they search for their own souls, He makes Himself manifest in small subtle ways.

I’m trying not to ruin the story for those who want to read it for themselves.

Sal’s Impressions of the Book

I loved this book. Every free moment I had over the past few days, I found myself stealing away to see what was going to happen next.

The two threads weave themselves together quite nicely. There is some predictability in the book, but also surprises. I found the details on the Amish lifestyle fascinating. Despite living on the edge of Amish Country in Pennsylvania, I never knew much about some of their traditions and the lifestyle that goes along with it.

I recommend this book and hope that I can get my hands on more of Mr. Cramer’s work.

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