A Deep and Thoughtful Story
Miami Morning is an excellently written novel that is a “must read” for anyone who has been involved in the educational system. It is a book that would be highly enjoyed by anyone who is or ever has been a teacher, student, or parent.
The main character is Leila Payson, a Social Studies teacher in Miami, who goes to South Africa to teach and learns the importance of listening to the people with physical challenges that she served as though they were “equal citizens” of the community rather than “her students” or “disabled.” When she brings this lesson of compassionate perspective back to Miami and applies it in her teaching there, she is able to help resolve a number of challenges that students share with her...
As she weaves through these challenges with her students, the reader is privy to both her inner philosophical dialogues and profound communications with students and colleagues. I thought that the highlight of the book was in the deep questions brought up concerning the importance of a strong community for a person facing hearing impairment.
This story is sad at times, and then hilarious at others. It is deep and very thoughtful, and yet it is easy reading. Mary Clark is a master at writing dialogue in such a way that makes the reader feel like you are right there in the conversation.
I highly recommend Miami Morning and am looking forward to another Leila Payson story, hoping that the author continues this totally fun and intriguing novel into a series.
— Martha Char Love, author of What's Behind Your Belly Button? A Psychological Perspective of the Intelligence of Human Nature and Gut Instinct
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A Beautifully Written Journey of Growth and Faith
As I read deeper into Mary Clark’s new novel, "Miami Morning", I began to have the sense of following a pilgrimage, a journey of growth and faith. Out of the “levels to her life” as a teacher, community activist and friend, Leila emerges smart, cultured, amiable, supportive, and sometimes self-depreciating, a forty-something woman who engages her senses as she perceives her surroundings like an artist and doesn’t shy away from challenges. She has a need for place and purpose, whether she is in Miami teaching Social Studies, helping to beautify and maintain a playground, and making sure a bright student losing his hearing doesn’t fall by the wayside; or on a year’s sabbatical in South Africa as part of a team setting up clinics in small villages and working to diminish the marginalization of the disabled.
Almost serenely aware “of being on the threshold of accomplishment”, Leila’s restlessness doesn’t make her impatient or impulsive, just active, her movement not always surefooted but, like many a Miami morning, contentedly and expectantly taking her towards an “opening horizon”. Her steps are more proactive than reactive. For example, after breaking up with a lover, she is determined not to cling to “the anguish of love”; instead she accepts the teaching post in South Africa to pursue fulfillment as a teacher and public-spirited, evolving individual.
Certainly, Leila’s quest is for more insight and meaning on the “long journey of life”, but she also seeks a way towards trust—of others, but mainly of herself. She values her interactions with students, colleagues, and friends, is constant and accessible in her relationships, while being easily solitary and essentially private. She gives the novel its heart and spirit, and is someone I immediately engaged with and cared about.
— D. M. Denton, author of To A Strange Somewhere Fled
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