Southern Scribe
    our culture of storytelling

 

 Fiction Review    

   
Forgiving Sam
by B. Powell Clark
NewSouth Books, 2002
Hardcover, $27.95 (558pp)
ISBN: 1-58838-067-X
 
 
 

Forgiving Sam opens with a harrowing abduction and rape of nine year old Sam McCauley. The novel, set in 1965, uses the Cullman and Birmingham area of Alabama as its primary settings. 

Sam has the good fortune to survive his ordeal and the better fortune of a supportive family. Each member of his family provides therapy in their own way. His mother insists on taking Sam to a therapist and encouraging him to talk. His father accompanies him to karate class and his sister gives him a safe harbor when he can't sleep. Believing Sam has "mended" with only the occasional nightmare as a reminder of what he's survived, the McCauley family seems like everyone else in their community. 

Sam grows up, goes to college, gets a job as a news anchorman, marries a pregnant girlfriend, divorces her, marries the love of his life, and has another child. On the surface he has everything he's ever wanted. Depression lurks at the edge of his psyche but he's almost always able to overcome his lingering self-doubt until he gets too close to a young black child.

FORGIVING SAM is about forgiveness, redemption, and love's power to heal.

Powell Clark is a retired nurse. The author, her husband, and their three children live in Empire, Alabama. Her short stories have been published in Kalliope and State Street Review. She's included a short note that her first novel was "seeded in her past."

 

Pam Kingsbury
Southern Scribe Reviews
 

2002, Southern Scribe Reviews, All Rights Reserved