Paper Angels by Jimmy Wayne with Travis Thrasher
Pub. Date: November 1, 2011
Publisher: Howard Books
Format: pdf, 240pp
Age Range: Adult
ISBN-13: 9781451606195 (for Hardcover)
Synopsis from BN.com:
Kevin Morrell is a forty-three-year-old husband and father who runs a successful design and marketing firm that’s crashed into the suffering economy. Attempting to navigate the busyness of the mall at Christmas, Kevin is humbled when he stumbles across the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Project. His wife insists that he take a paper ornament.
The name on the ornament is Thomas Brandt, a fifteen-year-old still reeling from the implosion of his family—from years of verbal abuse from an alcoholic father to a mother who finally left him behind, only to find herself and her children penniless and struggling. The only thing has allowed Lynn to survive is her faith. Thomas shares that faith, but he also wonders why God has seemingly abandoned them.
This is the story about a man and a boy one December. A man whose life is changed by a simple expression of kindness, and a boy who takes that expression of kindness and shows the true meaning of Christmas.
Paper Angels is clearly inspired by Country singer and Author Jimmy Wayne’s own life. He was himself once a recipient of the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program. Having lived through hard times himself, he feels a personal responsibility to give back. Knowing Jimmy Wayne’s music and background, I was curious to read this book, and thanks to NetGalley, I was able to do so.
I began reading on Christmas Eve and finished the day after Christmas. Paper Angels tells an important story. Readers will understand a little more about the Salvation Army and the organization’s Angel Tree program. But more importantly, readers will be given an immeasurable gift. For this novel is a fitting book to read at Christmastime to remember what the Spirit of Christmas is all about.
The two storylines and two families intersect thanks to the Angel Tree. When Kevin pulls Thomas’ angel off the tree at the mall, he begins to think about more than himself and his own troubles. Additionally, each time he goes to buy a gift for Thomas, Kevin has an encounter with someone from his past with whom he has lost touch. Through his giving to Thomas, and his interactions with friends, Kevin begins to learn how to be a better husband, father, and friend. And just as importantly, his faith, which been forgotten and nearly lost, is refound.
Thomas’ storyline is the most compelling part of the novel. And Thomas is also the strength of the book. You’ll want to read the story through to its conclusion just to find out what kind of Christmas and what kind of ending Thomas has. This young man is both giving and forgiving. He is compassionate and kind. He has his own struggles and troubles, but he overcomes them through faith and love. I won’t give anything away, but Thomas has a heart of gold. And we can all benefit from reading this book at Christmas time and remembering that, even if our lives are difficult or stressful, there is always someone who is hurting and struggling more than we are. If we remember to look past ourselves and help others, we’ll be rewarded more than we could ever imagine. I hope that those who read this book are inspired to be generous and give of themselves to make someone else’s life a little bit happier. Not just at Christmas, but all year through.