The Night Gift
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What does it mean to give love, and to receive it? No one can answer. For the answer can only be lived. And sometimes the living takes sharp and unexpected turns.
It seemed so simple to Barbara, Joslyn and Claudia - the idea that they would make beautiful a room in an old abandoned house for Joe Takaota. He was Barbara's brother, and he had tried to take his life because, he said, "It's so ugly." If they could give him a beautiful place, now that he was coming home from the hospital, maybe he would be all right. They worked on it at night, and soon each found the room invading her life in ways she had not expected.
For Joslyn the room meant the loss of her first love, a love she had never really had. And the problems the room raised in Joslyn's life brought about a new understanding of her family, and especially of her brother Brian, a school dropout.
For Barbara the room became not simply a gift to a brother she loved, but the unexpected step to a very different kind of love.
And for Claudia, born with a harelip and looking forward to yet another operation on her face, it brought the realization that her value did not lie simply in her face, that she could be loved for something more.
The room did not solve anyone's problems, least of all Joe's. But it opened many lives to other people's lives in good ways. It was a gift made by night and received in the dark places of more than one spirit.
This book was published in 1976.
The copy I have says it was illustrated by Kathy McKillip. I don't know if there is any relation or not but it would seem to be a good guess.
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