CHICAGO by Sonya Thompson

CHICAGO

A Journey Through Life
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A series of gentle reminiscences about the author’s childhood and early adulthood.

Thompson’s slim debut autobiography takes the form of a series of quick sketches of different moments in her life. She begins with various childhood adventures that she had as part of a military family, which she embellishes with novelistic touches of dialogue, imbuing them with warmth and immediacy. For instance, she tells of playing with dolls in North Carolina while news of the Vietnam War unfolded on television or of a stray cat, Peanuts, that she and her sister found, then lost, then found again. She enlivens these early reminiscences with relatable anecdotes and quips; surely she wasn’t the only young person to think “wall-to-wall carpet” meant that there was carpet on the walls, for example. She also very naturally weaves her personal Christian faith into these vignettes, with none of the heavy-handedness that often characterizes faith-anchored memoirs; as a result, nonreligious readers will find it easy to enjoy. Later chapters move forward to the author’s time at the University of Georgia and some of her experiences with Campus Crusade for Christ, including specific details about living a religious life on a bustling college campus. She also offers stories about adjusting to her commission in the U.S. Army Reserve: “Making new friends was easy,” she writes, “there is nothing like the camaraderie in the military.” Her tales of life as an Army medical services officer are among the most engaging in the book: “The air circulating underneath our fatigues made us all look like inflatable dolls,” she jokes at one point, when her group is onboard a helicopter. Thompson alternates between job stories and faith stories with easy, relaxed skill, which makes both aspects feel mutually reinforcing; the familiar, quotidian rituals of bowling leagues and driving lessons, for example, not only glow with happy memories, but also with lessons of faith.

A simple but engaging Christian memoir.

Pub Date: June 7th, 2017
Page count: 78pp
Publisher: River of Life Publishing
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2017