Michelle Buckman is known for her finely crafted works of Catholic fiction. This latest offering continues that tradition. Two of the characters in “Turning in Circles” were inspired by other creative works. “Beard” was inspired by Dolly Parton’s song “Joshua” while Ellerbe DePaul finds his roots in Earl Hammer’s John-Boy Walton. As a result, I couldn’t help but picture him as Richard Thomas from “The Waltons” television program while I was reading.
That being said, this tragic story is primarily about two sisters, Savannah and Charleston, who live in a small Southern town and are only ten months apart in age. When Charleston begins to court the attention of Dillon Smith, a known bully and troublemaker, it sets in motion a string of bad choices that build one onto another, leading down a treacherous road.
This is a thought-provoking cautionary tale of the way sin and self-inflicted pain can subtly enter our lives and then become a trap we can’t escape.
Savannah, the narrator, is mainly a bystander, watching her sister’s spiral, feeling powerless to do anything about it. Yet, she too feels complicit, wondering if she could have made different choices and created a different ending.