My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Sarah Crichton Book, via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Wow, I’m actually struggling to find the right words to describe this story.
When Miracle Creek starts, we are thrown straight into a court case for an event that happened a year ago at the barn owned by the Yoo family. They operate Miracle Submarine, a hyberbaric oxygenation chamber which is said to help cure illness and ailments. On Tuesday, August 26, 2008, a fire caught at the back on the barn where the chamber was housed, igniting the oxygen tanks and causing an explosion which killed two people, Kitt, a mother of five and Henry, an 8 year old boy. What follows is the preceding of the court case and the damnation of Henry’s mother, Elizabeth, who has been accused of child abuse, and of being responsible for setting the blaze which ultimately killed her son. But is she actually guilty of murder?
Miracle Creek is a court room drama, but it’s also SO much more than that. It deals with a lot of different things, it looks at the immigration of the Yoo family from Seoul, Korea; we see the struggles that a non-English speaking person faces when forced to assimilate into an primarily English speaking country. The difficulties that they face every day, doing simple things. From Young’s working from 6am to Midnight everyday when they first get there to ensure that her and her daughter have a place to live – to Mary’s trouble with trying to fit in at school, and deal with the racial slurs that are thrown her way, as well as trying to adjust to her ‘English’ name – Mary. We get an idea of the struggles that a parent of a special-needs child goes through, the feelings and emotions that must pepper them every day of their lives. The guilt they deal with when they allow themselves a split second of simply being human and wishing that their child was different, then punishing themselves because they should be grateful for what they have. The heartache at seeing someone else’s child succeed and realise that their child will never do that, will never have a normal life that should be afforded to everyone. The exhaustion and the drive to do anything if it will help their child get just a little bit better than what they currently are. It deals with infertility and the strain that it can put on a young newly married couple, as well as inter-racial marriage and the stigma that still can surround it to this day. You see? It is so much more than a court room drama where we are left salivating and chomping at the bit just to find out WHO DUN IT!?
I found the story incredibly intriguing. It dealt with lies, so many lies, many that were so innocent, in any normal circumstance, it wouldn’t have affected anything at all, but when paired with the devastating outcome in this story, it shows how much the smallest thing can make a difference.
I loved the way the characters were written, I love that the author didn’t sugar coat anything she addressed in this story. You felt the heartache, exhaustion, fear, guilt and pain that these characters went through. I had absolutely no idea whether Elizabeth was innocent or guilty, and if she wasn’t innocent, I had no idea who the real culprit could have been. I had inklings, and funnily enough my very first one that I had near the start of the book actually turned out to be correct. This story also looks at the human condition, how people make mistakes, how painful it sometimes is to just be human. Even now, I’m sitting here with the story continually running through my head. It really stays with you. Reading about everyone’s actions leading up to and on the day of the explosion was fantastic, it really cemented the seed of doubt that crept in, and I love that, I powered through the story as fast as I could because I just needed to know what really happened on that mournful Tuesday, the 26th of August in 2008.