Eli the Good is a work by Silas House from the year 1976, which narrates the story of a 10-year-old boy living with his small town family who survived the Vietnam War. The book defines the different perspectives that adulthood brings in one’s life. Eli’s father is a traumatized Vietnam vet while his other family members are different interesting personalities that make up a home. Eli has the best friend, Edie, who spends most of his time with Eli. The family struggles through hard times, and Eli tries to make sense and get a lesson of every situation in his writing. He writes slight poetry in his writing as the tension rises during the summer months. Eli states, “The sun broiled on the sky, a living thing that pulsated and grew larger”. He defines his understanding of how love and forgiveness help people overcome every conflict even the deepest of all. Eli reaches the hearts of many through his writing about his childhood and reminds all readers that time is precious in each person’s life. The relationships that keep breaking yet keep growing stronger through forgiveness are the fundamental factors that bring out the beauty of the book to readers (Silas 5-20).
In the entire family of Eli, no relationship from that with his scary father to that with his best friend stays unresolved. Eli growing up had a different mindset until the summer of the Vietnam War that brought heartache, laughter and endless longing in his life. Eli’s observations give the reader a deeper connection to his story and experiences in the past especially in the way he portrays his struggle to understand the happenings around him. While the book gives the reader knowledge of what happened during the Vietnam War, it also provides a deeper emotional feeling of Eli’s struggles and life. It also makes the reader understand the struggles of those who fought in the war and their families’ experiences through it all. Therefore, many people from the generation of the publication of the book manage to get even a deeper understanding and connection with the author’s story (Silas 25-40).
Eli’s book defines my life in many ways, from childhood experiences to the struggles in life and eventually relationships surrounding my environment that took me a long time to understand. In the year 1984, there was a hurricane in my hometown that killed many people including my parents, and left my elder brother handicapped. For many years, we struggled to survive on our own, my younger brother and I. We did not have anyone to care for us; instead we had someone to care for. Being the eldest, I had doubled responsibility at home. We had constant conflicts with our relatives including my annoying aunt who always opposed everything we did but never gave any better opinion or solutions to our problems. We knew that, through all the conflicts with our relatives, we had to make peace because we needed their help. I was my brother’s best friend, and he was mine. When things got hard, and we could go for days without food, I took my brother to a home for people with special needs.
He landed a home until I completed school. Landing a job was not easy, so I had to work extra hard to make it through all the struggles. I never understood why we had to go through all these sufferings, but I knew one thing for sure - it was not permanent. It was my wish that my brother would understand why I had to make such a decision for his sake. Our relationship was not okay for a very long time until I took him back home to live with us. Eli’s book portrays my struggles in the family with relatives who never offered their support through our struggles. Despite the difficult moments in my life and no one to turn to, I knew that we had to forgive our relatives and make our relationships better for the sake of the love we had for them.
For this reason, I initiated a conversation with my brothers suggesting that we visit our aunt and other relatives to show them we still cared and were no longer angry with them. Just like Eli, despite the struggles in my childhood, love and forgiveness kept the relationships around us strong. Eli’s experiences caused him to live in fear of the unknown and unexpected. In this essence, he worked hard to maintain his relationships no matter how deep the conflicts were. Eventually, with love and forgiveness he managed to build stable and healthy relationships with those around him (Silas 111-267). While my brother’s condition got better due to therapy, our relationship was still not stable until he fully recovered. That was the only time my brother willingly forgave those who wronged him.
In conclusion, Eli’s book, Eli the Good creates a familiar scenario for both the reader and the author. Just like the author, through many unpleasant experiences from the past, my brothers and I were able to offer and receive forgiveness and in turn build healthy and stable relationships with those around us. Eli reaches the hearts of many through his writing about his childhood, and reminds all readers that time is precious in each person’s life. The relationships that keep breaking yet keep growing stronger through forgiveness are the fundamental factors that bring out the beauty of the book to readers.