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Kristine Pratt5 Stars Out Of 5May 3, 2009Kristine PrattLong before Daisy Chance went missing, Jed Pepper knew that life was unpredictable.Long before weeks passed without any word from his best friend, Jed Pepper knew life wasnt fair.Long before the final tragedy played out, Jed Pepper knew well that life didnt give a person what they deserved.But then Jed knew a lot of hard things about life by the time hed reached the age of fourteen. But even knowing those things, Jed kept looking for the story to change, for the ending to play out different. Jed Pepper never gave up hope.In this poignant coming of age story we see the most horrific nightmare that can be imagined played out in just the first pages. A child goes missing, her last words coming back again and again to haunt the young boy who saw her last. Youll regret it. The words hung on the air, and in the heart of the boy who stubbornly refused to give up home when everyone else did.Jed Peppers life isnt easy. Living in an abusive home, is it any wonder that hes got a lot of questions about what God is really likeespecially given the one hurting him is his preacher papa? But the one thing Jed does have is hope. And the fragile faith that maybe, just maybe, God cares about him after all.This book will haunt you long after you turn the last page. The answers arent all there, and so leaves you hungry for the next book thats sure to come. What we do have is this, a story about change. About second chances. And about Gods love shining in the darkest of places. Dont miss this one. Youll surely regret it if you do.
Deborah Anderson5 Stars Out Of 5April 27, 2009Deborah AndersonForty-four-year-old Jed Pepper still can't say goodbye to his first love, Daisy Chance, so he returns to Crooked Creek Church, the place where he last saw Daisy before her abduction. As Jed stands and looks at the barren field where the church used to be, he becomes that fourteen-year-old boy again. He remembers Daisy's thirteen-year-old words. "Your family ain't normal, Jed." Jed's father, Hap, is a minister who abuses Jed at home. His mother, Ouisie, who is afraid to confront Hap, writes notes on the petals of the flowers that she puts in Jed's room. Jed's younger sister, Sissy, usually stays out of Hap's way, thanks to Jed. Not only does Jed suffer at home, he blames himself over Daisy's disappearance. Jed and Sissy do share one humorous memory together when they remember the poison-berry story, and Sissy begs Jed to repeat the tale. For one brief moment, Jed is forty-four again, recalling how his own children now beg to hear the same story.As the novel ends, it returns to the older Jed as he stands on top of the ruins of Crooked Creek Church. He still has trouble talking about everything, especially about what happened with Daisy, but he's arrived--for her. This novel's ending is different, yet I found it quite plausible. People who have suffered tragedy and abuse do have difficulty talking about it, even years later. Things are left undone in their lives, because for them, things don't always end wrapped up neatly with a bow. I applaud the author for tackling these tough topics with complete realism and truth, which is a rarity. The author shines a light, revealing the darkness of these terrible sins (secrets), with writing that displays extraordinary imagery and lyrical flavor.
Nancy Roa5 Stars Out Of 5April 23, 2009Nancy RoaDaisy Chains portrayal of the harshness and beauty of deeply flawed lives both chills and warms the heart. It is about recognizing that betrayal at the hands of those who ought to have loved better and the weight of sorrow that ensues, is not the end of the story. There is One who loves perfectly. There is more.
Mocha with Linda5 Stars Out Of 5April 22, 2009Mocha with LindaThis is a haunting and achingly compelling book about lives that aren't all sunshine and roses. It reminded me in some ways of To Kill a Mockingbird, as both novels present a less-than-ideal world as viewed through the raw lens of a child trying to make sense of it all. As a mom, I found it difficult to read at times. I found myself hurting with Jed as he tries to process the pain in his life - Daisy's disappearance, his preacher-father's public personna contrasted with the man he becomes behind closed doors, the interactions with the other folks in the town, his desperate longing and tentative attempts to be a man - and as he tries to come to terms with how God fits into all of it. On page 252, he wonders, "Should he pray? To God? Again? What good would it do? Would God even hear a prayer from someone who yelled at dogs? Hap said prayer didn't change God so much as it changed you. Well, if that was true, and Hap was a praying man like he said he was, God hadn't seemed to keep up his end of the bargain. Hadn't changed Hap ... for the better ... as far as Jed could see, that is."Hope and grace come to Jed from unexpected sources. Among other things, this book reminds us of the importance of looking beyond the surface and allowing God to use us to be "tangible proof that [a hurting individual] matters to someone."
Linda Harris5 Stars Out Of 5April 16, 2009Linda HarrisMary Demuth writes about difficult subjects in an engaging way. This book explores the dynamics of dysfunctional families and shows how different children react in varying ways. It's a wonderful, engaging and entertaining tale with discreet lessons.