Jairus’s Girl by L R Hay is a biblically-based book aimed at probably middle-schooler’s and high school aged children that tells the story of Jesus, his teachings, his crucifixion and his resurrection through the eyes of a simple, young girl in the town of Capernaum in 33AD. Tammie is your typical pre-teen, full of energy and excitement as she enters her teenage years. Her father is the Rabbi of Capernaum, commanding much respect and honour for the family. When an itinerant preacher comes to town and turns everyone’s lives upside down, Tammie is as excited about this Jesus as everyone else in the small town. When Jesus begins preaching and performing miracles amongst her family and friends, both Tammie and her father are convinced that Jesus is indeed the real thing and may even be the Messiah that the Jewish people have been awaiting so long for, as prophesised. Not everyone is convinced, however, and to some Jewish people he is seen as nothing short of a blasphemer and a heretic.
Author L R Hay mentions that her target audience is young people, but that some adults have also read and enjoyed the adventures of Tammie and her family. I can count myself as one of those adults enamoured and moved by this simple tale, Jarius’s Girl. Hay has crafted a sweet, funny and strangely moving tale that I have no doubt many young people will identify with. To put is simply, this book is a delight to read. The author uses the tool of “reader asides” to engage her readers and I found this a clever technique that subtly reminded us that although these things may have happened two thousand years ago, they are just as relevant today and the morals and lessons inherent in the story are equally applicable in modern times. I say to any doubters, forget it is about Christianity and just read and enjoy the adventures of a young girl in early Palestine. I’m certainly not overtly religious and I loved the story and the message it brought. It is a story well worth reading and definitely well worth the five stars I have given it.