A Book Review: When Mockingbirds Sing by Billy Coffey

So I get this invitation in an email, less than a week before leaving for Europe. It’s from a blogger and author I greatly admire, though we live on opposite sides of the country and probably have wildly different political views. There is something in his writing, in his direct approach, and his honest, soulful face that draws me in. To say nothing of his faith commitment, one that has withstood difficulty and time, one that sings with hope, sometimes despite evidence to the contrary. His name is Billy Coffey.

And Billy said he’d like me to read his new book, to help with Launch Week. I quickly said, ‘yes,’ fussed around a bit getting his publisher to put it into something approaching Kindle format, and loaded it just hours before taking off from LAX.

And there was so much to see in Europe, so much to do. And I wanted to do it all, too. . . and I pretty much did. But over and around and in between, there was this book. This story about a sweet little girl, a shy girl who stuttered. And her mixed up parents who love her but feel defeated about how to help her. And her feisty, loyal new friend in their new town, the town that isn’t quite sure what to do with these folks from ‘Away.’

I loved these people, almost immediately. Loved them, even the pastor who’s just a little bit too full of himself. And I found myself squeezing them into over-crowded days, just to see what was happening next. In between bus tours and museums full of glory from the past, and extravagantly beautiful natural beauty, this story would not let go.

I’m not sure I land on the same page as Leah, that little girl. I’m not sure I’m as . . . what is the word? Deterministic? Maybe that’s it. She believes that every single detail of her little life and the lives of those she loves is planned out way in advance. She believes that because. . . she has an ‘imaginary’ friend she calls the Rainbow Man.  He shimmers with color, he sings when he speaks, and he has sharp edges. He also tells her things before they happen.

That is one dude I want to see someday. And you know what? I think I will.

This much I know: God is bigger than anything we can think or imagine. I also know that God has a tender spot for small, shy, stuttering girls. God has always been a friend of the littlest, the least, the lost. And this book? Well, this book paints that picture in ways that are stunning, funny, sad, thought-provoking, touching and sometimes profound. Leah has a tough row to hoe, and hard things happen in this story. But ultimately, it’s a story of redemption and provision. I will not reveal anymore of the story line because I’d really like it if you read it yourself. And TUESDAY is launch day.

Billy says there will be at least two more stories from this small southern town.

I can hardly wait.

I was given a free advance copy of this book. The opinions I express are entirely my own and I received no other remuneration for this review. Click right here to order your copy. You will not regret it. This man is a storyteller, first, last and always. (Order NOW – the supply is low, but more are on the way.)

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  1. I love Billy’s writing… his distinctive voice and his knack of making real people emerge from the characters on his pages. I’m looking forward to reading this one, and the others to come.

    Glad you enjoyed your European excursion. I’ve never been, but I know there’s lots of fascinating history there!

  2. A book that you can’t put down during a trip to Europe?! Gotta get it. Thank you for the recommendation– I’m always looking for worthwhile books!

    • You’ll enjoy it. I had to read mine in a weird, unedited for punctuation and grammar early Kindle edition and I STILL loved it. As I noted, I’m not sure I come down theologically where Billy does here, but I loved these characters and I look forward to reading more about them in future chapters. He’s a great storyteller.

  3. I love how you took Billy and Mattingly to Europe. That town and his characters and the story sure sucked me in. And considering what’s happened in recent weeks–well, the ending and the timing of its publication was a little jaw dropping.