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Patched Together: The Story of My Life
Author: Brennan Manning
David C. Cook Publishing
139 pp.

Brennan Manning blends two of his stories, The Boy Who Cried Abba, and Journey of the Prodigal, in his latest modern parable, Patched Together.  He then adds the last third of the main character’s life, as he depicts the tale of Willie Juan, a sad and poor boy living in a small Mexican town.  Willie Juan is often tormented by the local children, as he walks with a limp and bears visible scars.  In between wishing he was happier, and his job caring for the local donkey, he hears from his grandmother about how special he is, and about how the Man of Sorrows will welcome all children.

Willie Juan has an unforgettable encounter with the Man, who immediately befriends the needy youngster.  He struggles to trust the Man, even as his physical afflictions are healed.    He slowly realizes  the Man of Sorrows is also known as the Medicine Man, and the Comforter.

Several years go by, and Willie realizes he has a talent for art and sculpture.  As his works sell, his life begins to change.  He has a chance encounter with a childhood friend, who he remembers as the only girl who was kind to him.  His love is kindled, but she will not marry him.  He bitterly leaves town, even as he discovers he has another gift in music.

Willie’s fame spreads throughout the region, even as his relationship to the Man of Sorrows seemingly fades.  He revisits his hometown, and is reunited with his friend Ana, who accepts his proposal this time. Willie also has another encounter with the Man of Sorrows, and this meeting pierces his heart.

As always, Manning focuses on the love of God, and the manner in which He loves his children.  He realizes the healing that comes in our lives only through pain, and that taking joy in Abba’s creation is not the sinful behavior that some would have us believe.  His gift to us is reminding us to focus on the love and the gentle nature of a kind Father, despite how much we tend to focus on the unlovable parts of

Brian A. Smith
20 February 2010



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