Score: 89/100 (8.9 out of 10)
This is a positive, feel-good book about a topic that doesn't get the amount of attention and care it deserves: working with children who have disabilities. How can you fault that? This book also has a rather heavy Christian or religious angle to it as faith is a very important aspect of the author's life. It is also important to the organization he works for that provides care to these disabled children, L'Arche Faith and Light.
“Building with Discarded Stones” is compelling on its own, but when you visit the Faith and Light website and actually see the work that they do, it really hits you in the heart. The work that these people do is phenomenal. There was a time in human history when the mentally disabled were routinely discriminated against, isolated, or sent to asylums that treated them worse than cattle at times, controlling them with inhumane restraints and drugs. Faith and Light really puts the so-often-talked-about love of Jesus into practice. Because is faith without works even faith at all? Can we love God and yet treat our neighbors (our fellow human beings) like junk? No. And what the workers at Faith and Light are doing is the perfect illustration of Christ's love for humanity.
This book does pose some rather interesting questions like why God would allow some people to be born different, what place the disabled have in the grand scheme of the universe or God's plan, and ultimately if the mentally handicapped are still able to form a relationship with God and to know/love Jesus. Those are some very heavy and loaded topics, but the author doesn't shy away from them. That takes some guts and courage.
Perhaps the best things about this book are the little stories regarding individual clients who have disabilities. Some are actually quite cute and interesting, while others actually push you out of your comfort zone or have you at the edge of your seat. There's a story in here about a disabled boy who'd wanted to play the part of Jesus in school play. There was a lot of doubt if he could do it and/or if he'd grasp the significance of the role. The result might surprise you! There's another story about a disabled student who develops an almost obsessive crush on a faith leader named Maria Cecilia, especially after becoming fixated with the idea of marriage from TV shows and movies. Managing that tactfully with respect to both sides is such a tug-o-war. What's a bit uncomfortable is the fact that some of the others in the group seem to pressure Maria into entertaining the boy's obsession just to keep him happy, which we don't think would be very good advice. Maria does the correct thing in essentially saying that because she cares about him and respects him, she can't lie to him about the way that she feels. There's also a big twist in the end involving Maria and this boy!
There's also a pretty interesting story involving a very bigoted old south, Alabaman woman who slowly develops an appreciation and respect for a Black disabled child.
This is a very positive book with a good message, and there's some entertainment and intrigue to be found in here.
Check it out on Amazon!