by Roger Zotti
Several months ago, when I came across Darryl Nyznyk’s novel, Mary’s Son: A Tale of Christmas (Cross Drive Publishing), my first thought was maybe it’s too early to read a book about Christmas. In a recent interview, Darryl set me straight. “For those who relish the meaning of Christmas,” he says, “the story resonates every day— not just at Christmas. It has adventure and lessons of hope and love for each day of a person’s life and should be appreciated and discussed every day.”
“Mary’s Son” has received rave reviews. Lauren Smith, EZINE’s on-line reviewer, called it “a wonderful and poignant story…an inspiring read.” Also, it’s a three-time winner of the Mom’s Gold Choice Awards.
Darryl, who practiced law for twenty years and now writes full time, hopes readers take away from his work Christmas’s real meaning, which is “Christ’s birth and the teachings of the Judeo/Christian ethic upon which this country was built.” He believes—and correctly—that his book’s “a good read and an exciting adventure, dealing with real characters with modern day issues.”
The book focuses on two angry youngsters—wealthy, snobbish, angry eleven-year-old Sarah Stone, whose mother was killed by a drunk driver, and streetwise, thirteen-year-old Jared Roberts, whose father has gone missing for a year. As the storyline progresses, they “discover the meaning of Christmas from a mysterious man and a journey in time.”
Written over a fifteen year period, here’s what Darryl said he learned while writing “Mary’s Son”: “While I and my wife were raising our daughters, I was working feverishly to make a living. What specifically writing [the book did] was help me focus through all the turmoil and struggles on the one constant we all can have if we let it in…the giving to others that is the paramount point in Christ’s message… if I kept that in mind every day, my life and the lives of those I loved would be happy… I grew dramatically during this time.”
In “Mary’s Son” one of the most memorable the images occurs when Sarah’s father, Jonas, is watching his daughter at the annual Penfield Heights’ Party. She’s dancing with one of the book’s key characters—Nicholas, an enigmatic old man. Darryl writes: Sarah “looked so much like her mother… Jonah had tried for a long time and finally succeeded in burying the memory of the wife he’d loved so completely. Yet, as he now stared at Sarah, he realized he’d done more than bury the memory of his wife’s loss. He’d pushed his only daughter away.” It’s Jonas’s most crucial epiphany.
Clearly, the book’s appeal is that in an age when positive news is rare, an age often lacking in hope, Darryl’s work is a vivid example of vital storytelling with an unquestionably positive message. In fact one reason Darryl wrote “Mary’s Son” was because “I needed to give my four daughters [now grown] something they could read every year to remind them of the goodness that still exists in the world.” Aimed at readers of any age, it’s a book for all seasons.