Paper Angels – Travis Thrasher and Jimmy Wayne

You’ve seen them in the stores around Christmastime, an artificial Christmas tree set by the door adorned with a number of ornaments. But they’re more than just decoration. They’re hopes and dreams and faces and smiles and tears. They’re children who probably understand more than most that Christmas isn’t about consumerism; they’re kids that know the difference between needs and wants; but most of all they just want to know somebody cares. They’re Paper Angels. And this is their story.

One of those Paper Angels is Thomas Brandt, a teenager barely coping with a new school, a new life, and newfound poverty. Life wasn’t good before. Living with an abusive alcoholic never is. But now that he, his mom, and his sister have left life isn’t getting any better. They live in a ramshackle trailer, drive a beater that’s barely functional, and just putting food on the table is a struggle. It’s difficult to even accept that they need help, hard to rely on someone else to provide for them when they’ve been fighting so long, but both Thomas and his sister end up in the Angel Tree program.

But it’s not just Thomas’s story. Kevin Morrell is the head of a successful design and marketing firm that has found itself hit hard by the tough economic times. Cutbacks, he’s told. Cut, as in any profit he was making; back, as in right where he’d been stabbed. With his livelihood in flux and his wife pregnant with twins, Kevin isn’t sure adding another expense is a good idea, but at his wife’s insistence he picks one of the Paper Angels—Thomas’s.

And that’s when God begins to work.

Paper Angels is a heartfelt Christmas tale about finding kindness amid consumerism, highlighting the historic Salvation Army Angel Tree Program. But it’s so much more than that too: it’s a story of brokenness and redemption, of forgiveness and second chances, of empathy and integrity and repaying evil with good. Travis Thrasher and Jimmy Wayne have crafted three-dimensional and true-to-life characters and woven their storylines together seamlessly. The result is an inspirational masterpiece set to challenge minds and move hearts.

Past the Angel Tree Program, Wayne and Thrasher manage to tackle themes such as alcoholism, broken families, cyber-bullying, the troubled economy, why bad things happen to good people, and more. The finished product is obviously flavored by the lives of its authors. Wayne’s childhood mirrors Thomas’s story as he was himself a beneficiary of the Angel Tree program as a child. Elements of Thrasher’s life and personality show through in Kevin’s storyline, especially as he is the father of twins.

Paper Angels is the perfect early Christmas present, something to be given out before the hustle and bustle hits full swing, something to remind folks of those Salvation Army trees over the in the corner. It’s a moving and heartfelt story that shouldn’t be missed.


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Author: Josh Olds

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