The Value of Rain delves into Charles' past to uncover his tortuous life behind the walls of the mental institutions. From days spent undergoing electroshock therapy at the hands of sadistic guards and doctors to brief glimmers of love, Charles plots his revenge allowing it to fester and blossom. In spite of warnings from tentative friends, a kindly doctor, and even a homeless man who becomes his teacher, Charles refuses to let go of his anger and revenge, allowing it to taint everything that crosses his path, both good and bad.
And now that he's reached that final moment, where Charlotte sits on her deathbed in front of him, still mocking everything that he is and that he does, will he allow his desire for revenge overtake him, or will he finally be able to let go of the past and move into a new future?
It's a gritty novel that doesn't flinch when describing the horrors of young Charles' life both within the institutions and with his equally sadistic mother. But I like that it doesn't hold back, making it easier to empathize with Charles. It's also easy to see how too much desire to exact revenge can cloud all the good things going on around you, especially when it comes to the young men with whom Charles tentatively falls in love throughout the story.
My only gripe concerns the character of Breece, the homeless man from whom Charles learns how to survive the streets. Charles' being directed to him specifically seems a bit too coincidental, especially given Breece's relationship to Charles' family. But it can be overlooked because the story is entertaining and definitely worth a read.
I definitely recommend picking up a copy of The Value of Rain.
The Value of Rain
by Brandon Shire
The Practical Group at Smashwords
ebook, 314 pgs