Kindles and Kindle applications allow readers to highlight lines in a book that they find particularly meaningful or poetic. Similarly, Goodreads allows readers to add quotes from an author or to favourite those quotations.
There are two quotations from "Gabriel's Inferno" that are mentioned by readers more than any others. First, "Kindness is never wasted." Second, "Sometimes goodness doesn't tell everything it knows. Sometimes goodness waits for the appropriate time and does the best it can with what it has."
I included these ideas intentionally, associating them both with the character of Julia Mitchell. Let me explain why.
Kindness is an underestimated virtue. It's common in our society for people to champion tolerance, and rightly so. It's less common for people to go further and advocate kindness. Toleration puts up with people and their idiosyncrasies, their flaws and imperfections. Kindness welcomes people. It honours a person's humanity and dignity. It says, "You are worthwhile and valuable, just as you are."
Kindness isn't easy. But it is valuable, no matter what. Kindness is the right choice because it's the right thing to do - not because it will win us friends, or fame or money. Thus, kindness is never wasted, even though the recipient of kindness might reject us or our actions or spit in our faces, for one reason or another. Kindness makes the giver vulnerable. It can change the life of the recipient.
Julia Mitchell is not a woman who has experienced much kindness in her life. Yet, she is kind. For all her flaws (and she has many), she chooses to be kind. She chooses, even in difficult circumstances, not to hit back, not to curse, not to be bitter. Readers have had very strong reactions to her, but I think most would admit that her kindness is a virtue to be recognized and praised. As the author, I believe that the contrast between the way she has been treated by and the way she treats others shows that she is a praiseworthy character.
I welcome your comments, as always.
All the best everyone and thanks for reading,
PS. ETA - Sunny C has reminded me that Nook Color allows for highlighting, too. Thanks Miss Sunny.