Sandpebbles by Patricia Hickman – Reader Response #3

After completing this poetic novel full of hope, accidents, recover and mainly the struggle of the human heart, I am really satisfied that I got to read this amazing and captivating book. Hickman does a really great job in drawing the reader into the heart of each character and also, adds great humor in this novel. Hickman really uses poetry and creativity in Sandpebbles followed by love and hate at the same time among each character.

By finishing off with reading chapters 6 to chapters 25, I have come to a conclusion that Sandpebbles is really intriguing and has caused me to fall in love with Hickman’s creativity in this fictional story of a March Longfellow, who has been struggling a lot in her life since her husband, Joe has died of an accident. Throughout her struggles in life, she has come accross many good and bad circumstances. She struggles with her relationship with her mother-in-law, Joan ever since Joe’s death. March talked about Joe and Joan when she was having a conversation with Colin and she said: “And then there was the problem of his family. His mother, Joan, knew enough about us to take her little digs at me. I didn’t handle it as well I should. She’s always implied I caused his death even though she doesn’t admit he may have taken his own life. It was has though she had been looking for someone to blame for Joe’s problems and happily found me. We always had this friction between us, so when he dies, what little good we had between us fell apart after the accident. She acted as though I drove Joe out in the storm” (163). March still questions Joe’s death from time to time but still, she couldn’t find the “million dollar answer” (163) as to how someone could prove that Joe took his own life. March still struggles to find peace and continue to focus on her job as a writer at the Sentinel but still, she seems to be interested in Pastor Colin Arrnet. They talk more often and see each other even though they both live far away from each other. March said, “Colin and I took turn visiting the other’s town in our long distant romance. it was proving me to be more difficult to be away from him. But I kept my nose to church and the Sentinel and did what I always did-my job” (263). Both march and Colin seemed to be more closer and closer as they meet up and talked about their struggles in life; Joe, March’s death husband and Eva, Colin’s wife who has died from cancer. Colin confessed to March by saying, “I’ve started someting between us. They don’t understand our mutual pain” and March replied by saying, “Colin, no one can understand it but us” (162). The more closer they became, the more Colin’s children, Rachel, Luke, Troy, and Charlotte, and Colin’s sister Ruth. Colin reminded March by saying, “Charlotte love you, March. They all love you” (280)

Anyways, things got to get more serious and Colin had invited March to come to his church so that he could introuce her to the congregation. So March took James, her father and Mason togehter to drive down to the Arnetts. After the service, Colin introduced March to some of his important people but then March overhead someone saying, “Sakes, if she doesn’t look just like that Eva leading that little boy around like she owns the place” 282) when Mason and Charlotte headed straight to the desert table by skipping meal. That made her felt that no one like her. One of the humor that caught my attention was when Mason asked her Mom, “Do you love Pastor Arnett, Mom? I want to know so stop beating around the bush” (283). Then her mother replied “I might love him, Mason. Is that a bad thing?” (283) and then Mason said, “It’s not. I just think it’s going to be a big mess if you are. He calls a lot. The phone bill will be big, but you’re nicer now” (282). After they had this small talk, Collin called after some seconds and said, “I want to see you again”…and March replied “when can you come?” (284) and Mason just kissed his Mom after stufying her face and said, “You’re a wreck, Mom, but a nicer wreck” (284). Collin and March got togehter with with their kids during fall break as they Arnetts came over. As the night draw into a more calm and peaceful night, March and Colin took a walk to decide mariage. Then later in the morning, Ruth called March and told March about the kids. Ruth said, “March, Racheal just woke me to tell me the boys, Luke and Mason, plus Charlotte took off in the Sparticus. A storm had moved in and they’re all out in the middle of it. Sweet Jesus, Have mercy!” (287). The Sparticus is the boat that Joe took out to the river. Both March and Collin rushed out to the river on another boat and started searching for the kids. March was confused and she told Colin, “Somehow I missed out on all of these signals with Mason. I never saw this coming” 291) but Colin told her that “Our kids made a mistake, March. We can’t blame ourselves for this” (291). It was a darred game that the kids had played last night that got them into this situation. Then the Coast Guard had found Mason, Troy and Charlotte and rushed them to the hospital. Both boys seemed a little bit fine but Charlotte was admitted to the ICU. Collin told March that “They called it aspiration pneumonia. I overheard the doctor say she has hypothermia too” (296). After some time, Charlotte went into respiratory arrest but then everything was fine. Charlotte recovered and the boys were well. “I know the ocean can swallow up things against your will, but it did not swallow up Troy, or Mason; nor did it swallow up Charlotte. Colin and I had gathered in the hospital chapel and breathed a prayer of gratitude for all of our many blessings and especially for our little miracle girl the morning she woke up and asked for, of all things, water” March said (306).

As interesting as it seemed. Hickman also portrayed reconciliation between Joan and March as she told Mason about it by saying, “Mason, I want to ask you something. You know that big fight between Grandma and me? I think it’s time we settle it” (302) and Mason replied “Just let her have the land?” (302). And March said, “Let’s shake on it” (302) and they did. Hickman ended this amazing novel with a tradition that March and her son have ever since Joe was alive. When Mason’s dad was alive, he kept three stones in a bottle. It was a “memory bottle” (166) that had three stones and sand in it. Then after March and Colin got married, Mason got a new bottle and had seven stones in the bottle with a tag around it that said “Nags Head.” March told Colin, “Seven stones. One for each of us. Enough for a whole shore” (307).  

This novel may be the most interesting novel that I have read. Learning more about Hickman and her writing has caused me to want to read more of her books again. It’s a really great book and also Patricia Hickman does a really great job in developing the characters and creating a strong relationship in the life of the characters as they work their own way out of their struggle, especially then March Longfellow, Ms Norville and now Mrs. Arnett.

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