June 26, 2015

Book Review: The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon

The Law of Moses
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Get a copy here!

I always said on my previous reviews of Amy Harmon’s books that the word ‘beautiful’ wouldn’t cover what I truly thought about her books. Today, let me amend that opinion of mine:
Beautiful might not be enough to describe what I feel about this book. But we all know that beautiful is a strong word and sometimes calling someone/something beautiful is enough to make them standout than the others. Because somehow the simplest word means the truest, especially those that is said sincerely. And when we put the word ‘beautiful’ on someone/something, know that we already set a whole new definition of ‘beautiful’. Just like how everyone has different opinion upon something, some things have their own definition of certain things.

So now, I’ll put this to begin my review of The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon:
A beautiful book by a beautiful author. 
Simple but sincere.
Oh, looks like it’s going to be my new mantra from now on…
The Law of Moses is a beautiful book. And you can go on with another word like ravishing (which means stunningly beautiful) or stunning (which means strikingly beautiful) but after all they all go back to the basic word: beautiful. The Law of Moses is beautiful in its own way. And for me, it’s beautiful because it has a complex plot along with outstanding writing style and well-built characterizations and along with that, it delivers a very deep message that goes right through every heart of those who read it. And this book is written by a beautiful author that of course, beautiful in her own way. Ms. Harmon is beautiful for me because she writes amazingly and deeply meaningful books that if I’m being honest, quite hard to find nowadays.
Now that we get my issue of finding-the-right-opening-sentence-to-begin-my-review out of the way, let’s continue to my personalize synopsis of The Law of Moses and you can find my actual review afterward!
“It kind of bugs me that we’re supposed to ignore our differences like we don’t see them, when seeing them doesn’t have to be a negative.” 

(Moses; Chapter V, The Law of Moses)
Moses knew all right that he was different. Hell, he was different from the start. Not just from the color of his skin or the fact that he was born parentless. Moses Wright was known widely ever since he was still an infant wrapped up with a blanket in a laundry basket. Having a poignant history, he grew up with a shadow of her mother’s bad image haunting his every step. Add that with the test saying he was born as crack baby. But Moses was fine with all that. He was even already long over people’s whispering this and that about him. After all, people were just like that. Instead of finding out the real history behind someone’s life, they tended to ‘create’ their own version of history of that someone’s life. Ironically, that version was usually sold out much faster than the original one.

When he was almost eighteen, his great grandmother brought him to leave with her in Levan. Moses felt much safer living with the 80 years old granny than being juggled here and there without certain affections being poured into his plate. GG, as he called her, knew better how to take care of Moses. People said Moses was crazy. But GG witnessed that Moses was just a little different. Even he showed amazing talent no one ever shown at his age. Moses could paint. God, how he could paint like a maestro at his best. And he did it every single day. But this was where the difference comes out. When many artists painted living things or just anything with beautiful meaning behind them, Moses painted the dead. Not just any dead person but the dead who actually came around and asked to be painted. This was not a mystical tale about someone with supernatural ability. This was Moses and how he tried to figure out the right thing to do with the gift given to him. 

Georgia was a girl growing up among foster kids and horses. Not that she was one of the kids or not that she lived in a barn. Georgia’s parents were foster parents and they had a lot of horses that they used for equine therapy with the kids. Being the only child, she became less dependent and worked hard helping her parents taking care of the horses and the barn. Georgia was a barrel racer and she’d been dreaming to work her way out to be on circuit but some circumstances happening in their small town held back her plan. The summer before graduation now felt like a long stretch in front of her. Until Moses came around.
“I’m a very ordinary girl, Moses. I know that I am. And I always will be. I can’t paint. I don’t know who Vermeer is, or Manet for that matter. But if you think ordinary can be beautiful, that gives me hope. And maybe sometimes you’ll think about me when you need an escape from the hurt in your head.” 

(Georgia; Chapter V, The Law of Moses)
Georgia couldn’t exactly pinpoint what it was about Moses but it seemed like she always chased after him in every moment. Maybe the fact that he was crack, or maybe the eccentricities of his paintings, or maybe just the beauty seemingly hidden behind his striking eyes color; they all seemed to be the reason Georgia wouldn’t stop coming after him. No matter how much warning she’d been received all along.
“And Lucky is just like you!” I said.

“Because he’s black?”

“No, stupid. Because he’s in love with me, and he tries to pretend every day like he doesn’t want to have anything to do with me,” I shot back. 
(Chapter V, The Law of Moses)
Moses had no more idea how to shake the questionable sanity in Georgia’s mind. The girl obviously didn’t pay good attention about warnings. She was so persistent which half-relieving and half-terrifying for him.
‘Georgia’s problems were not my problems. Georgia was my problem.’ 

(Moses; Chapter VI, The Law of Moses)
And as much as he enjoyed her company, he should know better that maybe after all it wasn’t her who’s in trouble. With girl like Georgia, it most likely he was the one who’s in trouble.
“Georgia, you better run.”

“Why would I do that, Moses? When I want you to catch me?” 

(Chapter VI, The Law of Moses)
Another warning being thrown, another rebelling step Georgia took on. Didn’t matter just how many times Moses recited his law, Georgia would rattle her own just to counter-attacked each point leaving Moses no options other than letting her leading him deeper.
“Georgia’s eyes. Georgia’s hair. Georgia’s smile. Georgia’s personality. Georgia’s kisses.” She batted her eyes. “See? Definitely five greats for Moses.” 

(Chapter VI, The Law of Moses)
And had he let her go deeper…
“And these are mine.”

She kissed my smallest finger. “Moses’s eyes.”

She moved to my ring finger. “Moses’s smile.”
Another kiss on the tallest tip. “Moses’s laugh.”
Her lips were so soft. “Moses’s art.”
She rounded to my thumb and placed her mouth gently against the pad. “Moses’s kisses.”
“Those are my five greats for Georgia today. Those were my five greats yesterday and they will be tomorrow and the next day, until your kisses get old. Then I’ll have to think of something else.” 
(Chapter VI, The Law of Moses)
Being with Georgia was the best feeling yet also the riskiest one he ever got. Georgia might always got everything wrapped around her little fingers, but Moses doubted she could deal with all his baggage permanently like G’s been done all her life.
“If you had to paint me, what colors would you use?”

“If I were to paint you, I would use every color.” 

(Chapter V, The Law of Moses)
Moses painted the dead to part the waters and let them cross in peace. It tortured him to see things people were not supposed to see. And he’d done it anyway because he had no other choices except that. But Georgia was the whole different case. She always wanted him to paint her in his life, to sketch her face in colorful brushstrokes against the wall of his heart. Moses had a choice this time: to do it or not. And whichever choice he took, he figured he’d just bring Georgia drowning in dark water instead of the other way around. 

When little did he know, sometimes you don’t actually figure things out unless you face them and deal with them on your own.

First, I’d like to say that the cover of this book is SUPER gorgeous!
AND this book had the most devastating prologue a book could ever have. Imagine that I already felt depressed and teary-eyed even before I read chapter one… That moment I knew that this book would obviously blow my mind till the end. And it did, people, it still does even now...

The Law of Moses featuring a unique and lovable hero named Moses. He’s got a way miserable past but as he grew up he proved to be able to outface the rumors mentioning his possible cracked future. He might be born as a crack baby from a crack-addict mother but they were all just labels people put on his surface. I fell in love with him from the first time Georgia narrated his childhood. 

I guess as she slowly grew a feeling for Moses time to time, I did too. 

What Moses went through in his life, it’s sad that we could easily find it happened around us. Different people, no matter physically, emotionally, mentally or just different because of some gift unknown to us, common people, seemed to always be judged of being on the wrong side of the road. This time, Ms. Harmon decided to bring up a story of different person who’s being one-sided by the community but turned out having something that ironically eventually helped the community itself. This time, Ms. Harmon took us to see this issue from inner perspective of the person itself, Moses, and of the closest person, Georgia. We learned that when they sometimes don’t show any attempt to counter the rumors, it isn’t because it was true, it’s because they choose to let it go until those people figure it out themselves.
Georgia was a fearless and loyal girl. I loved how she always tried hard to stay true to her feeling for Moses for such a long time. I loved how she relentlessly pushed the door to his heart even though he always tried to double-lock it whenever it came loose. Sadly when her moment to back away came around, it was the moment when she suffered the most. Yet, deep inside she still felt the same for the boy who kept pushing her away every time.
Ms. Harmon successfully created a complex plot of the story. I loved that she opted for realistic way all the time, just like how real life was. I might be able to predict a twist but we all know that Ms. Harmon never surprised us with just a single thing. Furthermore, she led us to an endless plot full of surprises where it seemed like there’s no way out but eventually she always had a way to solve it neatly and gradually. It’s not too miraculous or overly depressing. I especially loved the touching details she put in every scene, making the whole story more alive and richer. Also the religious touch that often came up just added another point for the poignant side.
Even though there were a lot of tear-jerking scenes along the way, I barely cried until I got to somewhere near the end.
Okay, I cried a bit, as in some tears hanging in the edge of my lashes but it worsened in some point on last chapter. There was a scene where a character described what love was in a really innocent way. That scene made me a blubbering mess and I felt like gasping for air for I didn’t remember how long…
“Do you think she knows how much I love her?”

“You gave her flowers and said you were sorry.”

“I did.”
“You kissed her.”
I could only nod.
“You painted her pictures and hugged her when she cried.”
“Yeah,” I whispered.
“You laughed with her too.”
I nodded again.
“Those are all the ways to say I love you.” 
(Chapter XXXI, The Law of Moses)
I think I need to stop now before I ended up quoting every line from the book.
What I’m going to say now that no matter how long and detailed I went on with my review, it still didn’t justify the awesome real feeling and sensation I got from reading this book. Like people said, you have to experience it first before you say something about it.
So, people, go and experience this book. You’ll want it.

Love, read, and review,
Cynthia D.


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