Title: The Reunion
Author: Dan Walsh
Publisher: Revell Books
Genre: Contemporary fiction
I loved this book. It was incredibly inspiring and brought tears of joy at the end. I was impressed by the depth of feeling and skill in the writing, and also by the depth of generosity of the men with the money.
Essentially this book honours the unsung heroes of Vietnam, those who died, those who fought, those who were injured and those who saved other people’s lives and were decorated for it.
Aaron Miller is one of those honoured for his heroism, but he now lives in near obscurity, working as a handyman in a humble trailer park. After the war, he became addicted to the painkillers he was given for his injures and his life spiralled downwards. He lost his wife, his family and ended up living on the streets, until he had an epiphany and turned to the church. With God’s support he turns his life around, but his wife still doesn’t want anything to do with him. Though estranged from his adult children, the people in the trailer park love him because he’s a wonderful guy who not only cares about people, he acts to help them.
Three men whose lives he saved during the Vietnam war have met together every year for a reunion, but they haven’t seen Aaron since they saw him in the hospital in Vietnam. They decide that it’s time they thanked him properly, but they can’t find him, so they hire a reporter, who is writing a book about Vietnam war heroes to find him, and they give him a fine budget in order to do so.
What follows is a deeply moving story about the power of gratitude, love and forgiveness. The characters are finely portrayed and I particularly loved the way the relationship developed between Aaron and Dave, the journalist. My favourite part is when Dave says that he realises that he is standing next to a national treasure.
Christianity is a big part of all the main character’s lives, but there is no preaching here, just very down to earth people who find support in their belief in God and the support of their churches. The Reunion shows Christians the way they should be if they really follow Christ’s teachings, ie kind, forgiving and generous. 5 stars.