The Right Kind of Fool by Sarah Loudin Thomas is the story of Loyal, a hearing-impaired teenager who discovers a dead body and is thrust into the center of a mystery.
My Review of The Right Kind of Fool
The story drew me in from the first few words. Loyal was told to stay home but he snuck away to the river and falls into a whole lot of trouble.
The Characters in The Right Kind of Fool
I loved the characters in this book. They seemed like people you already know. The woman with the absentee husband who devotes herself to the church, the father who works too hard, the child trying to prove his worth to a parent, the man seeking redemption in the eyes of the people he loves…we get a glimpse into multiple lives as we see the mystery unfold.
Loyal was a great protagonist. He refused to let his inability to hear prevent him from finding answers to the mystery he found himself in. I found myself empathizing with the character as he considered how to make himself understood to his hearing counterparts.
Yet, even as I enjoyed the story and understood that some of the things Loyal did were to move the plot forward, my parental heart stuttered. He did many things that should have resulted in some form of parental consequence, but he never faced any. I can only hope introspection leads him to make better choices in the future since his parents are too caught up in their own struggles to properly parent him.
Loyal’s parents–Creed and Delphy–were two halves of a splintered relationship. They each responded to the incident which caused Loyal to lose his hearing in ways that caused discord in their family. It was interesting to watch them come to the realization that they had each played a part in the dismantling of their family and do their best to fix it.
A number of the other characters like Michael and Rebecca did some growing up in the course of the novel and it was great to watch.
The Themes in The Right Kind of Fool
There was a theme of sacrifice throughout this novel as there were a number of characters who were willing to give up their freedom or happiness to please the people they cared about. It brings to mind the ultimate sacrifice which Jesus made for sinners.
There was also a reminder that while it is impossible for us to protect those we care about from coming to harm, God is always with our loved ones and is more than capable of protecting them.
Final Thoughts on The Right Kind of Fool
The faith themes were faint for the majority of the book and were mainly references to prayer, reading, or going to church. The reader gets the impression that the characters are Christian but may not be strong in their faith. Near the end though, there were more references to God’s role in the characters’ lives.
This was a compelling novel that unfolded at a steady pace until near the end when it felt like there was a rush to wrap the mystery up so the focus could shift to other things. Still, The Right Kind of Fool was a great read. It had a strong storyline and interesting characters. I look forward to reading more books from this author.
I received an advanced reader’s copy from the publishers through NetGalley; a positive review was not required. Get your copy of The Right Kind of Fool.
About The Right Kind of Fool
Thirteen-year-old Loyal Raines is supposed to stay close to home on a hot summer day in 1934. When he slips away for a quick swim in the river and finds a dead body, he wishes he’d obeyed his mother. The ripples caused by his discovery will impact the town of Beverly, West Virginia, in ways no one could have imagined.
The first person those ripples disturb is Loyal’s absentee father. When Creed Raines realized his infant son was deaf, he headed for the hills, returning only to help meet his family’s basic needs. But when Loyal, now a young teen, stumbles upon a murder it’s his father he runs to tell–shaping the words with his hands.
As Creed is pulled into the investigation he discovers that what sets his son apart isn’t his inability to hear but rather his courage. Longing to reclaim the life he abandoned, Creed will have to do more than help solve a murder if he wants to win his family’s hearts again.
About Sarah Loudin Thomas
Sarah Loudin Thomas is a fund-raiser for a children’s ministry who has time to write because she doesn’t have children of her own.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Coastal Carolina University and is the author of the acclaimed novels The Sound of Rain and Miracle in a Dry Season-winner of the 2015 Inspy Award.
Sarah has also been a finalist for the Christy Award, ACFWCarol Award, and the Christian Book of the Year Award. She and her husband live near Asheville, NC. Learn more about Sarah on her website https://sarahloudinthomas.com/.
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