Book Review: The Mercy of the Sky by Holly Bailey

[simpleazon-image align=”left” asin=”052542749X” locale=”us” height=”500″ src=”” width=”331″][simpleazon-link asin=”052542749X” locale=”us”]The Mercy of the Sky: The Story of a Tornado[/simpleazon-link] by Holly Bailey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A personal accounting by a Moore, Oklahoma native and reporter that creates a suspenseful and emotional narrative. Although the writing was somewhat repetitive using similar metaphors and images overmuch (i.e. like a bomb, freight train, war-zone), the author did a great job assembling the time-line and establishing a gripping tale. The various viewpoints and experiences of different citizens directly affected by the tornado enable the reader to gain some perspective on what was undoubtedly a horrific day for all involved. The author draws on her own understanding of the unique relationship between Oklahoman natives and the weather while also providing insight into the history and science that are key to understanding the events of May 20, 2013. She provides colorful and entertaining anecdotes about the more prominent players in this drama, but also manages to convey the horror, the heartbreak and the shock. The play-by-play of the tornado passing over the schools is particularly compelling and gut-wrenching. I found myself white-knuckling my book as I absorbed the vivid details as compiled from the teachers and administrators who bravely and selflessly placed themselves between their students and the monster that was bearing down on them. This is not just a story of Oklahoma or even of tornadoes; it is the story of human beings who in the face of unimaginable destruction and chaos emerged shaken, but not defeated.

“Football, Jesus, and tornadoes: That was Oklahoma” (p. 21).
“If tornadoes were something of a religion for those who followed them, central Oklahoma was the holy land” (p. 52).
“It was like Armageddon come alive, a vast, churning maul of death shrouded in swirling debris” (p. 132).
“…the house began to crumble like a cracker crushed in the ball of someone’s fist” (p. 188).

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