Last night I finished The Desperate Adventures of Zeno & Alya, which did indeed catch my eye at the library. I checked it out because the plot looked good–and because Richard Peck was quoted on the cover as calling the author ‘an engaging and fresh new voice.’ (I LOVE Richard Peck.) And I have to say, I did enjoy it overall. I wasn’t so sure about it for the first ten pages–the point of view took a bit of getting used to–but it continued to grow on me, and I ended up being ok with the feel of it. My only complaint about it would be an expectation problem; Zeno and Alya meet very briefly towards the beginning of the book, separate, and don’t see each other again until more than 3/4 of the way through it. To me, the title sort of implied adventures together, and so I was waiting for what felt like the whole book for that to happen. That said, Zeno’s journey from complete self-absorption (apparently, parrots are like that) to viewing others as friends worth sacrificing for was compelling, and Alya’s battle against the emotional aftermath of chemotherapy for leukemia was poignant. Their second meeting was far more meaningful for having been delayed, and the ending was hopeful, in a way that reminds us that sometimes, hope can be everything.
One of the lessons in church today dealt partly with hope, and so I’m offering two thoughts on hope this Sunday afternoon.
1)Wherefore, whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world, yea, even a place at the right hand of God, which hope cometh of faith, maketh an anchor to the souls of men, which would make them sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works, being led to glorify God. (Ether 12:4, in The Book of Mormon)
2)”Hope” is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—
And sweetest—in the Gale—is heard—
And sore must be the storm—
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm—
I’ve heard it in the chillest land—
And on the strangest Sea—
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb—of Me.
(Emily Dickinson, #254)