Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Short Life Well Lived by Tom Sullivan

Brian O'Connor is a husband, a father, a lawyer, and is blind. He's the lead prosecutor for the Metropolitan Boston District Attorney, where he has spent ten years. Though he was born in a tenement in South Boston his parents provided him with the education that allowed him to be where he is today.
He has a loving wife, Bridgette, and a son, Tommy and daughter, Shannon. Life is good. Tom even helps coach little league, where Tommy is a pitcher. But at an exciting game, Brian hears a crack, not from a bat, then hears his son screaming. Tommy has broken his right arm pitching.
The news at the hospital is not good. The break is odd and further tests show cancer. Thus begins a long battle for eleven year old Tommy.
The story is written from Brian's viewpoint and we share his frustration. While Bridgette has a strong faith in God as a practicing Catholic, Brian does not. We participate in the dialogue between Brian and the chaplain at the hospital. We wonder too as Brian asks how one can love a God who lets your young son die of cancer. (There is much discussion on how a good God can allow such evil to happen.)
Tommy is amazing throughout the chemo and the declining days. (You have to know from the title that he dies.) He has talked with the chaplain too and he knows where he will be when he dies.

This is a very touching story. The author is himself blind so the life of Brian is very realistic. I was disappointed that there was not a clearer identification of what is required (what one must believe) to end up in heaven. There is much talk of belief in God but not the necessity of a saving belief in Jesus. Clayton and Brian do talk about Jesus and Brian does come to the point where he has “clearly embraced the one true and everlasting God.” (240)

Howard Books, 256 pages.

I received a copy of the book from Glass Road Public Relations for the purpose of this review.

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