If not me, who will mourn for Tilly? Who will care to remember her?
Tilly is a book by Peretti that I hadn’t read before, in contrast to most of the other stuff I’ve been reading lately. It’s a significant story in his formation as an author; he first wrote the story in script format as a radio drama and only later adapted it into book format. The script was sent to now infamous conservative Christian organization Focus on the Family who loved the script’s pro-life message and produced it as a full-fledged hour-long audio drama; that was actually Peretti’s first “publication” and what led to him getting a book deal. The book is super short, only a hair over a hundred pages and with pretty generous spacing, if you know what I mean. It tells the story of a husband and wife who have an odd encounter with a woman in a cemetery and become intrigued by a tiny headstone that bears only the name Tilly. Anyway, the long and short of it is that this brings up memories for the woman of an abortion that she had some years before and she becomes plagued with guilt. For a pro-life book, this is a compassionate one; it’s all about assuaging the character’s guilt over the abortion. However, it is ultimately about her learning to forgive herself, rather than discovering that she doesn’t need forgiveness, so the message remains pretty clear. The mystery plotline of the husband trying to discover the truth behind the Tilly headstone is an interesting way to tell this story and adds a bit of an extra layer to this slim volume. It’s hastily and blandly written with none of Peretti’s usual verve. It has the benefit of Peretti’s quite genuine investment in the issues surrounding abortion, but it’s still a pretty slight story with little in the way of real emotional catharsis. The pro-life message will rub a lot of people the wrong way, but at least it’s not sermonizing or hectoring. 2 stars.
tl;dr – a strong pro-life message, but more compassionate than you might expect; the story is blandly told & extremely slight to start off; readers of all political stripes will find little of interest. 2 stars.