The Prayer Box, by Lisa Wingate, is one of those books that makes you think as you are reading it. While I was reading I would stop every once in a while and think about myself in relation to the discoveries of Tandi. She is on a quest to reinvent herself and reclaim her family after many harsh struggles in her past. I haven’t had the same kind of struggles she has, but, as a reader and a person, I can relate to the need to make things better. All of us face difficult situations to one degree or another. Being able to relate to the characters in such a fundamental way is why this book is amazing.
Tandi has escaped to the Outer Banks to Hatteras Island with her two kids in tow. The death of her neighbor gives Tandi a chance to rebuild her relationship with her children, learn to be part of a community, and how to value a man for more than his appearance. All of these are hard lessons for her as she grew up in the worst kind of dysfunctional home.
The letters she finds in the prayer box are a whole other story that connects to the present in very curious ways. Iola Anne has written her prayers for years and left them in boxes. Through the letters and the experiences of Iola Anne, Tandi begins to change for the better. They help her to see beyond herself and to become the person she wants to be, even if it is hard.
All of us can look back at difficult times and see the person, place, or thing that helped us to overcome and become better. Iola Anne isn’t a bad source of inspiration as she pours her heart into her written prayers. It’s rewarding to watch Tandi grow in confidence and find her identity outside of a man. Seeing the relationship between her and her children is also heart warming.
This book isn’t classified as Christian. It doesn’t dwell on God or anyone’s relationship to God, other than Iola Anne’s letters being written to God. In all honesty it is really about someone finding the strength to be herself and fashion a life she can be proud of. It’s about the positive power that a worthwhile community can bring to your life.
The ending of this book was almost jaw dropping to me. I did not see what was coming. The last revelation from Iola Anne’s letters made me cry. It made me think about how the power of prayer can affect us.
It’s a clean book as far as language and explicit scenes go. I’d let my kids read it and recommend it to my mom.