Review: The Kevin Kirk Chronicles: My Mom's a Mortician, Funeral Home Evenings, Early Morning Cemetary, and The Final Farewell by Patricia Wiles
Kevin Kirk is that perenially endearing character: a young boy on the verge of life. Young Kevin does have a cross to bear. In My Mom's a Mortician, his parents have moved the family to a small town to manage a funeral home—and it will be Kevin's home as well!
This story of the way Kevin copes with, and eventually comes to terms with sharing his house with dead bodies, even as he discovers his goal in life and makes friends in a new town, is a most entertaining read. I was so pleased with it, I immediately went out and bought the other three books in the Kevin Kirk Chronicles. I was not disappointed.
In Funeral Home Evenings, Kevin's family life expands to include the couple who work at the funeral home. Meanwhile, his goal to become a National Geographic naturalist seems closer than ever as he joins a special science class. To his horror, however, every step forward becomes a misstep, while his spiritual development begins to conflict with his dreams.
Kevin's life as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints becomes more apparent in this second book. (The book's title is a play on the practice of "family home evenings" in the Church.) As with the first book, Kevin grows through the guidance of the adults in his life, for a satisfying story arc, and a promise of more to come.
Early Morning Cemetary (another play on a Church practice, "early morning seminary"), sees Kevin and his friends approaching adulthood in their community by way of exploring graveyards and making tombstone rubbings.
At home, the young couple who work for the funeral home want to renovate a delapidated house so they will have their own home in which to raise their child. Kevin and his father work to find a way to help them afford this purchase. Unfortunately, just as they seem to have it worked out, a figure from their past arrives with claims on their attention, love—and funds.
Hints of religious bias rise in this novel, adding to Kevin's burden. His growth is driven by these struggles, including an unwelcome guest, a series of items that go missing, and the accusation that Kevin is the thief.
In the end, The Final Farewell sees Kevin making a choice between his long dream of becoming a National Geographic naturalist, and taking the expected step for young adult in the Church, serving as a missionary. I am still reading this one, so I will say no more than it has been a worthwhile journey, a Gentile traveling with young Kevin through his Chronicles, as he finds his spiritual balance, becomes a young adult and an upstanding Church member, and reveals a few of the processes by which that faith guides his growth.