Chasing Fireflies

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Charles Martin, is an author whose work will be  remembered for years to come. To say he is a master storyteller is an understatement. Chasing Fireflies is a soulful saga of with many inter-woven subplots that carry the reader along like a flowing river. Fireflies was recommended to me by a friend, and I am so glad it was.

William (Willee) Walker McFarland was born into a wealthy banking and land-owning family in the Georgia low-country. Framed for murder, bank theft, and embezzlement by his narcissistic, pedophile brother, Jack McFarland,  Willee spent time in prison. After being pardoned, he  managed to salvage his life, remarry, and become a foster parent. Even after he was thrown out of his church, beaten, and spit on by his former neighbors, he believed he had all he needed:  a loving wife and children.

Newspaper reporter, Chase Walker, was raised in that foster home, and as an adult, found himself welcoming a severely abused young boy into that same foster home. Together, Chase and his cousin, actress Tommye Lynn McFarland, found the truth about Jack.

Chasing Fireflies makes statements on many current social issues:  the state of our foster care system, and the fact that there are over 500,000 children waiting to be adopted; the fact that parent-on-child sexual abuse and the concomitant low-self esteem plays a part in  sending many young women, and even young men, into prostitution and/or into the making of pornography; the manner in which church members can turn on a fellow member when there is no proof he/she committed a crime. Granted, not all Christians are so judgmental, but some are.

Martin has ingeniously woven some of the fascinating history of the low-country into this book; that set the stage for tunnels that were under buildings in the town. Information about Atlanta Braves baseball, the ravaging of the coastal land by money-hungry developers, the Georgia Bulldogs, and even a description of linebackers and strong safeties, were all carefully threaded through this captivating novel. I have found yet another favorite author.

You will not be able to put this book down. It would be a great book for book clubs, and has discussion questions at the end, plus the first three chapters of another of his books. I plan to read it next.

What Makes This Book Reviewer Grumpy?

  • At one point, Martin states that the prime interest rate peaked at 20.5. I didn’t remember it being that high, so I “Googled” it. Turns out, it actually peaked at 21.5 on December 19, 1980.
  • The word “further” is frequently used when “farther” would be more appropriate; the two are not interchangeable.
  • There were a few (very few) missing commas that caused me to re-read the sentences — changed the meaning entirely.

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