October 05, 2011
Lily Dale: The True Story of the Town that Talks to the Dead by Christine Wicker
While originally just going to see what all the hype is about, Wicker has to concede by the end of the book that there is something special about Lily Dale. While some of her experiences she determined to be outright fanciful and full of hype, she does determine that some of it was real. She uses these instances to help her grow and while she may not believe it is "ghosts" that help her with her feelings, the people there are genuinely trying to help her.
She focuses on several people and among these are a few that come to Lily Dale to help them with their grief. Pat Naulty is a professor whose son died during a Russian roulette game. Her trip to Lily Dale is to just get some rest and while there she does believe she makes contact with her son. Carol Lucas is a teacher who wants to contact her husband who is recently deceased. While she is a skeptic, she does find some comfort in the town. Marian Boswell while outwardly seems to have the perfect life, learns that not all is at it seems and with the help of her faith, learns to grow past her hardships.
She also interviews some of the mediums and becomes friends with a couple. While they all seem to genuinely believe they commune with the dead, she is able to realistically show that they are normal people and believe they are doing normal things. And it feels natural.
While I enjoyed the book I did find that the way it was written bothered me. While the writing itself was detailed and you could picture the scenes of the town, it was also very confusing. She mentions several people during the novel and they reappear here and there with no seeming order. This makes it difficult to keep track of who's who in the novel and you have to read several paragraphs into a story before you realize just who she's talking to. She does include a cast of characters at the end of the book but that doesn't help much while you're trying to read the book.
This book also featured a couple pages of pictures. I found these fascinating and enjoyed seeing the older ones of the places and people of Lily Dale. There weren't many, but I think it added to the book and helped create the town a little better in the mind while reading it.