*B O O K R E V I E W*
“That was the thing about lies: they demanded commitment. Once you lied, you had to stick to your story.”
Miracle Creek, is the debut book of Angie Kim, an up and coming author who is also an attorney. Most of the book, consists of a four day murder trial; however, the book spans the course of a year, from when a deadly incident occurs in 2008 until the end of the trial in 2009. Someone is charged with starting the fire that caused an oxygen therapy chamber (HBOT) to explode, causing two people to die in a horrifying way.
The chamber, called the “Miracle Submarine”, was built for the purpose of healing a variety of disorders and conditions. It was the dream of Pak Yoo, a Korean immigrant who had experience with this type of therapy while in Korea. His wife Young, and their daughter, Mary, help him run his operation.
Contained in the chamber at the time of the explosion were Henry, a child diagnosed with autism; Matt, a doctor experiencing infertility; Kitt and TJ, a mother and her autistic son; and Teresa and Rosa, a mother and her daughter who’s suffering with cerebral palsy. Henry’s mother wasn’t in the chamber that day. Others who weren’t in the chamber included the Yoo family and the protestors from a support group for moms of autistic children.
Miracle Creek moves fast. Each day of the trial is a section of the book. Within each section are chapters telling what that day was like for each person and the people they were in contact with. Kim’s writing made me feel like I was in the courtroom each day. I didn’t want to put it down; I wanted to read through to discover who committed the crime!
There were aspects of the book that were difficult for me. It’s hard to read about death, especially death where a child is concerned. It was also difficult to read how the mothers of the three children in the story experienced stress and exhaustion while caring for their children and never seeing the end in sight. They felt trapped.
This book provides a variety of issues that provide great topics for discussion, topics such as autism, infertility, immigration, mothers of special needs children, lies and secrets. It seems that every character, except the children lied about something. They kept secrets from their families. They kept secrets with each other. One lie led to another in order to continue covering up their secrets.
Angie Kim tells a story that only she could. She moved from Seoul, South Korea as a preteen. She’s practiced law as a trial lawyer after receiving her education at Stanford and Harvard Universities. She’s also the mother of a child who’s been treated with hyperbaric oxygenation.
Side note: I had never heard of hyperbaric oxygenation therapy until reading this book. When our IRL bookclub decided to read this, one of our members explained how she had been treated in a chamber after a face lift that caused one side of her face to be paralyzed. She said the HBOT corrected the problem. Since then, I’ve heard many more cases.
HOW CAN I LIVE MORE PURPOSELY AFTER READING THIS?
I found myself wanting to judge the mothers in this story, but I have to ask…are they really at fault? I hope that I would have behaved differently than they did given their situations.I’ll strive to always tell the truth to myself and those around me.