Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hope Captured, a reader response by Jenni Warren

We all have a residual place inside ourselves that encourages us to cling onto ideals we sometimes refer to as hope. Hope for what tomorrow may bring, hope for forgiveness of a fault, and hope to find enough courage to not give up on hope. Sharma Shields captures the meaning and purpose of hope in her short fiction, “The Last Snow Angel Boy.”

The best stories written tend to spark a light of familiarity in the reader. Stories conjure up feelings of understanding and create “a-ha” moments in the reader that provide them the opportunity to envision their own story working out in front of them on the page. “The Last Snow Angel Boy” was written with a poetic quality that makes it possible, if not easy, for Shield’s readers to plug into the story she has created.

Stories remind us about how we want to live our lives. They remind us of the ideal, the way in which we desire to appear. In “The Last Snow Angel Boy,” Marion and his wife are coping with the reality of their son entering rehab for the fourth time. Marion’s wife found her sanctuary in, a rather large collection of a miniature twinkling snow village that allows her to physically touch and mold the “happiest place on earth.” To Marion, the village represents an unattainable life that with all its glowing lights and painted-on expressions makes a mockery out of the life that is now his reality.

Ironically, such as life itself, the small glimmer of hope that Marion receives is found in the expression of Snow Angel Boy’s face, the face of a “collector’s dream.” As Marion makes an offering of the highly-valued ceramic boy to his son, Snow Angel Boy no longer represents an annoying ideal but rather a symbol of Marion’s hope and love for his valuable son. Sharma Shields demonstrates through Marion that there is significance in tangible hope, the simple kind of hope we can thankfully sustain.
I encourage hopeful readers, as well as stubborn pessimists, to read “The Last Snow Angel Boy.” Shields presentation of discovering unexpected hope in unexpected places is sure to resonate with readers searching for meaning and harmony in their own, very real, stories.


Jenni Warren is currently a student at The University of Montana, Missoula. She will finish her degree in Communication and Psychology this winter and hopes to remain in Montana. A Pacific Northwest native at heart, Jenni developed a passion to explore the beauty of the outdoors. Her passion has inspired her creativity and fuels her “bucket list.” She hopes to one day (but not limited to) sip coffee in Europe, roast marshmallows on a beach in Costa Rica, and search for the ultimate tapas bar in Spain. 

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