Friday, November 04, 2005

Title: The Time Has Come - The Book of Grace - Part One
Author: Barbara Oleynick
ISBN: 978-0-9755922-5-0 and 0-9755922-5-4
Publisher: Synergy Books
No. of Pages: 188
Category: Fiction/Spiritual
Presentation: Hardbound with dust jacket

The photograph of a small baby with chubby cheeks and beautiful eyes calls to you from the front cover of this book. If you are called or destined to respond, you will read this book, like I did. This books gets to the core of the reader, the heart. It certainly did to me. Made me cry at several places with its intense narration of the lack of love and the consequent cruelty of a man to a fellow man (I am using that word in its most general form, which encompasses man, woman and child). The author certainly knows how to grip the reader's imagination and she made me feel as if I was there when all that she describes was happening.

Well, let me give a brief peek into the story. The story is about Grace, God's grace to be specific, which was sent to earth in the form of Grace, a baby born to an unwed child of 14, Rachel, who didn't even know that she was pregnant and who didn't know how she became pregnant. And the baby's arrival is known to a wise old woman Gyada and is heralded by the appearance of a bright star. She was waiting for a long time and her role is to teach her. The baby is abandoned by the child mother and is picked up again through a Divine Plan, by Albert, a large hearted man, whose wife Henna is equally loving. The two brought into the world children, who in turn are loving, thus emphasizing the role of good upbringing. But even where love is lacking, God sometimes has His/Her own plan like in the case of Rachel. Rachel proves a loving and forgiving daughter and a wonderfully loving sister to Stefi, whom she brings up like a mother since her biological mother is addicted to drugs and uncontrolled sex. Rachel's mother kills her younger daughter Stefi in a fit of uncontrolled rage, possibly drug induced. She repents and is forgiven. Rachel is directed by the same Divine force that is responsible for Grace's adoption by Albert and Henna to go searching for her baby and naturally is welcomed with open arms by the couple.

Rachel grows up to become a qualified medical doctor and Grace becomes a miraculous healer. She saves another baby Jeffrey, the grandson of Albert when he was just a few months old. When she is about ten years old, Grace performs another healing miracle by healing a man with multiple stab wounds. She continues to help others and the climax for this particular part comes when she saves a train from being blown up in a terrorist attack, set in 2008.

Barbara is at her best when she is narrating scenes of love and interestingly scenes of great sorrow like when Rachel was delivering her baby not knowing what is happening, another small child being attended in the Emergency Room by a desperate team whose members cry when they fail, Stefi's death and Rachel's desperate attempts to save her sister and similar incidents. When she comes to the part where she describes the decaying social order, the increasing incidence of crime, the way children are being ill-treated etc., she sounds more like a preacher and like a narrator of a documentary film. The philosophy that she tries to share is really not new and is more eastern though the western world did have similar thinkers but lost most of that knowledge in the mad rush for materialism. Now the eastern societies are pursuing similar agenda and the societies are paying the price. Barbara seems to send a message through her novel that if sufficient number of people work more from her heart than from their minds (which are more logical and self-seeking) and thus share the love (sharing material possessions comes as a natural act when the heart is full of love), the world can still be saved from a total disaster.

You will read this book if you are destined to read. After reading, how you will feel is dependent upon how much dogmatic your belief systems are. If you are spiritual and believe in the oneness of Universe, you will resonate with some of the ideas presented by the author.

As I wrote, the author has a good style and really grips you in the first part of her book. The later part is as mentioned a little more in a documentary or reporter style. Still, fairly readable.

The editing of the book left much to be desired. It didn't interfere too much with my ability to understand but left me wondering at the state of English in US colleges and universities.


About me: Swamy is a part of my given name, Venkateswara Swamy Swarna. Swarna is the family name and is the name of a small village in Andhra Pradesh, India, from which my ancestors hail. Venkateswara Swamy is the name of the presiding Deity at Tirumala Tirupati, the richest temple of India and the second richest religious institution in the world. It is the tradition in Hindu families to name the children after Gods and Goddesses, with the optimism that the child does develop the divine qualities. I am clarifying this since Swamy is also used as a respectful title for Sadhus, Sants and Sanyasis (monks) in India and thus sometimes I am confused with such monks. I am not a monk. I am a physicist and a metallurgist, a Quality Assurance specialist and am presently working in a full time job in a large organization, at Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India. The views expressed are of course my own and my organization has no connection to it.

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