Adam Finney a young man who is mentally disabled faces sterilization and lobotomy in a state supported asylum When he is found dead in the French Broad River of rural North Carolina his teenaged stepsister Jess is sought for questioning by their family and the policeJess's odyssey of escape across four states leads into dark territories of life and death moral choices where compassion and grace offer faint illumination but few answers A Question of Mercy set in a vivid landscape of the mid twentieth century South is the fifth novel from Robert Penn Warren Award–winning writer Elizabeth Cox As she challenges notions of individual freedom and responsibility against a backdrop of questionable practices governing treatment of the mentally disabled she also stretches the breadth and limitations of the human heart to love and to forgiveJess Booker on the run and alone leaves the comfort of her home near Asheville recklessly trekking through woods and hitchhiking her way to a boarding house in tiny Lula Alabama a perceived safe haven she once visited with her late mother Pursued by a mysterious car with a faded I Like Ike sticker Jess is also haunted by memories of her mother's early death her father's distressing marriage to Adam's mother the loving bond she was able to form with Adam despite her initial resistance and her boyfriend Sam's troubling letters from the thick of combat in the Korean War In Lula Jess finds if only briefly a respite among a curious surrogate family of fellow displaced outsiders banded together under one roof and there she finds the strength to heed the call homeward to face the questions she cannot answer about her stepbrother's deathThrough her vibrant depictions of characters in crisis and of the lush natural landscapes of her southern settings Cox brings to the fore the moral ethical and seemingly unnatural decisions people face when caring for society's weakest members Grappling with the powerful bonds of love and family A Question of Mercy recognizes the countless ways people come to help one another and the poor choices they can make because of love?choices that challenge the boundaries of human decency and social justice but also choices that can defy what is legal in the course of seeking what is right


10 thoughts on “A Question of Mercy

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    Too rarely a book comes along that totally pulls you into its pages to the point that it's hard to distinguish the story in the book from your real life This is one of those special books I walked along North Carolina roads with Jess and I mourned Adam's death with her I am still thinking about these characters days after I read the last page and I know that this will be one of those books that I remember for a long timeWhen Jess's father remarries his new wife brings her son into their home Adam is mentally disabled and as his body matures he starts getting into trouble because he is different His mother feels that the only place he can live safely is in a state hospital where the doctors plan to lobotomize and castrate him The book takes place in the early 1950s and this was still the approved method to control the mentally challenged in North Carolina Jess is aware of the plans and is totally opposed because she knows the procedure will cause Adam to lose what makes him Adam After Adam's death Jess runs away from home looking for peace and acceptanceThe novel isn't just about love and family it's about how society cares for its weakest members and how families form not just by birth but also out of love and concern for each otherThis is a powerful novel and one that definitely needs to be read and talked about If I could I would give it than five starsThanks to the publisher Story River Books for a copy of this book for a fair and honest review