Aaron Miller is a Viet Nam vet who works as a maintenance man in a trailer park. Serious injuries sustained in the war sent him home and caused him to become addicted to painkillers. He lost his family, his job, his home, and lived on the streets for a time. But he found the Lord and began the slow road to recovery.
Even though his job might not look prestigious to most, he does it well. And in the course of it, he seems often to be put in the way of people who need help. A teen-age girl with an abusive boyfriend. A legless veteran who is on the verge of ending it all. An elderly woman whose home is crushed by a tree.
Unbeknownst to Aaron, three men he knew back in Nam are looking for him. And when one of them hires journalist Dave Russo, who is writing a book about Viet Nam vets in honor of his later veteran father, they just might find him.
All of Dan’s books that I have read are heartwarming, but this one is probably the most so. I kept thinking it would make a great Hallmark Movie. 🙂 I loved the Amazon introduction to this book: “There are people in this world we pass right by without giving a second thought. They are almost invisible. Yet some of them have amazing stories to tell, if we’d only take the time to listen…” I loved Aaron’s character and could just picture him as one of those kinds of people most would tend to overlook but who faithfully does his work well and who has a great story behind him. I enjoyed Dave’s story as well. Dan did a wonderful job weaving all the different elements of the story together and pulling at the heartstrings.
Here are just a couple of quotes that stood out to me:
Of course, it was clear the thing Billy needed most was a friend. It didn’t help that Billy talked so much once he got going. One thing after another, like he’d been sitting on a mountain of words and Aaron had come in and set off a volcano.
Most of the people who blame God for everything never even try things his way, so how can they blame Him when it all goes wrong? But they do. I did. For years, til eating that meal. That day, the lights came on. And I saw that all I ever did was do things my way, my whole life. And all it ever did was get me in trouble and more trouble.
I also enjoyed the Author’s Note at the end where Dan says two stories about two different WWII Congressional Medal of Honor winners (Bobbie E. Brown and Bill Crawford) who came home, eventually became janitors, and had very different endings inspired him and caused him to think about people we overlook who might have amazing life stories or might have accomplished great things no one would ever guess. Plus he was inspired by Jesus’ example of speaking to out-of-the-way, overlooked people. And I join him in expressing gratitude for “the unsung warriors whose actions have made it possible for the rest of us to live free.”
(Sharing at Semicolon‘s Saturday Review of Books)