Welcome to the seventh and final discussion of the Christy
read-along! ♥ If this is the first you've heard of the read-along, you can view the schedule in this invitation post
Today we'll be discussing chapters 40-46. If you've already read these chapters, you can share your thoughts in the comments section below or in your own post! (Feel free to use the image above, linking back to the Christy read-along tag
.) If you still need to catch up on the reading, you're welcome to check in whenever you're ready. :) We're happy to have you join us whenever you can!
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Christy: Chapters 40-46
Discussion format: your favorite quotes, general impressions, and three questions to answer for each week's reading
- "I knew that I belonged here, helping these mountain people. There was nothing I wanted for myself, I just wanted to give."
- "What I didn't understand then was that they were training their wills in the only way a will can be trained—by practicing giving up what we happen to want at the moment."
- "Relationships can be kept intact without compromising one's own beliefs."
- "By then I was a bit wiser and had learned that there's only one way to give advice to the young: give it, and then be perfectly unconcerned as to whether they take it or not. God alone is capable of managing other people—even our own children."
- "Every one of us belongs in some kind of ministry."
- Is Miss Alice really saying that David can't love me—or anyone—until he has given himself and his love away to God?
- "I offer back to You this love You gave. It's all I have to give You, God. Here are our lives—hers and mine—I hold them out to You. Do—with us—as You please."
I confess I'm not quite sure what to say about this book's conclusion! As with the rest of the story, there are plenty of thought-provoking lines and moments. The theme of giving oneself, of living in "ministry," of loving without holding back—definitely challenging and inspiring. I'm not 100% satisfied with how the plot ends, but as a whole, this book has been engaging to read and discuss, and it's definitely a compelling story. :)
When I finished the book, I found myself wanting answers. I shared a few links in the first discussion post, and I'll re-share a couple here in case you want to visit them again, now that spoilers aren't an issue:
I found it really interesting to check out the comments section for that first link too!
It's intriguing to know that Catherine Marshall's mother married a pastor and had a short engagement, which is what might have happened in the book...but then didn't. With David's state at the end of the book, I'm not disappointed that he and Christy didn't get together. It's not that I believe people need to be in a perfect spiritual state in order to get married. Far from it! That's not possible; we always have room to grow, and it's wonderful when marriage itself is a place where people can do that. But I believe it's important to have a foundation of faith beforehand, and I don't think David had that. He was still searching. He even said (on page 551 in my copy), "I have to stand my ground and find myself right here." So...yeah, I don't think his character was quite ready to start a loving relationship with Christy. (As suggested in the second to last quote in the section above.)
But then there's Dr. MacNeill. And I don't know exactly how to feel! Of course, my romantic heart enjoys a happily-ever-after. :) I really liked Dr. MacNeill in the show, and I think overall I liked his character in the book too. (If you're also a romantic, here's a link to a little music video someone put together featuring scenes from the show: It Is You (I Have Loved) [Christy/Neil]
Yet...I feel like his prayer and conversion, as much as I'm glad for them, were too sudden, too convenient to the story. Only a couple chapters before the end, Dr. MacNeill said, "Prayer, Alice, isn't going to change the course of typhoid" (page 540 in my copy). This was right before Christy became bedridden. Of course, his interactions with Christy and Miss Alice might have been on his heart and mind for some time without the reader really knowing it, but I think it would have been helpful to see him somehow wrestling with his faith more before that last scene. Like I said, I'm glad for what happened! I just wish it hadn't been tacked on at the end without more basis in the rest of the story.
Also, as much as an open-ended conclusion can be compelling, so much seems left unsaid. It's a climactic last chapter, but I think I would have enjoyed an epilogue or something to share just a bit more about what happens after Christy's illness. There were undertones of romance throughout the story, but it wasn't necessarily the central element, so it feels a bit odd to have the end be about the romance rather than about the mission and the people of the Cove or even more about faith apart from a romantic relationship.
Okay, apparently I do have a lot to say about the book's conclusion! :) While these last chapters left me wanting more or something a little different, I still really enjoyed the book overall. And I know that as much as I've been complaining about the focus on romance, I'm the one who's been going into detail about my thoughts in that regard, rather than talking about the other stuff that happened!
I'm inspired by all the sacrifices in these last chapters. With sickness running rampant, the people at the mission gave so much of themselves to care for others, even someone like Lundy who didn't appreciate their efforts. It's so sad his seemingly small act of rebellion with eating eggs was his undoing. :( And yet, Christy and Miss Alice and Ida and Opal were so dedicated in their care of him to the end.
I was impressed by Ruby Mae's husband, his willingness to do whatever necessary to help his wife, even at such a young age. And then there was Christy and her small but meaningful kindnesses to Bessie and her family. And the truth about Tom's death, and how there seemed to be a mending there between families.
This last section was not all sunshine and roses, that's for sure! (Although there was sunshine and flowers in the last chapter!) But there were shining moments in the midst of much pain and fear and darkness. I have another of Catherine Marshall's books, Julie, on my shelf, and I'm curious to maybe read another story by her at some point.
Answer any or all three of these questions in the comments section or in your own blog post!
1. Which story of sickness, whether hopeful or heartbreaking, affected you the most?
2. Were you satisfied with the conclusion of the story? If so, what did you like most about these last chapters? If not, what do you wish might have been different?
3. What was your favorite part about Christy
? Do you plan to read other books by Catherine Marshall, either fiction or nonfiction?
Thank you so much for joining the Christy read-along!
It's been a pleasure discussing the book with you. ♥
*Catherine Marshall, Christy (New York: Avon, 2006), 500-501, 504, 506, 507, 546, 547, 558.