I first read the novel “Christy” when I was in Junior High (a loooooong time ago). I read it again 20 years later. Then they made a television series about it (1994 starring Kellie Martin and Tyne Dalley) and I read it again. And it was one of the books that I kept to read again, so I pulled it out to read in retirement. Aside from the Bible, there aren’t too many books that I like well enough to read four times!
“Christy” is a novel based on facts, first published in 1967. Catherine Marshall, who wrote a biography of her husband, “A Man Called Peter”, wrote this first novel based on the way her parents met. Her mother had left home at the age of 19 and gone to teach in the rural Appalachian mountains of Tennessee. So the novel “Christy” is based loosely on the life of her mother.
Christy, the main character in the novel, hears God’s call and goes to rural Appalachia in 1912, to teach. Young, with little exposure to the world, Christy is, at first, repulsed by the primitive and backward people in the Cove. Over time she comes to admire their courage and simple faith. For instance, in dealing with the bad hygiene of the children, Christy says, “”when love came in the front door, my preoccupation with bad smells crept out the rathole.” Christy also grows in her own faith as she continues to seek God and understand his plan for her life. Eventually she finds love and makes her home in the mountains.
Catherine Marshall captures the flavor and language of the Appalachians in 1900 with love an understanding. She explores the faith of the people in the story and describes their reluctant interaction with outsiders who threaten their ancient way of life.
Wise Quaker woman Miss Alice guides Christy with words of wisdom throughout the book: “Christy, if we’re going to work on God’s side, we have to open our hearts to grief and pain, for he suffers more than any of us. And at the point where his ultimate in love meets his total capacity to feel our agony – there the miracle happens – and the exterior situation changes.”
Catherine Marshall captures the flavor and language of the Appalachians in with love and understanding. She explores the faith of the people in the story and describes their reluctant interaction with outsiders who threaten their ancient way of life. Catherine Marshall says “Faith is a challenge. It was faith that took my mother into the mountains on a wild adventure. It is my inheritance from her and from my father. I couldn’t have done anything I have done without it.”
Christy is a wonderful, faithful book that inspires anyone who reads it to seek God’s direction and purpose for their own lives. It challenges us to love people as they are but to continue to grow in our own spiritual lives.