Shelby and her brother Trey survived an abusive childhood, and now Shelby is the guardian of a 4 year old daughter. She moves to Germany for a fresh start and her past continues to haunt her. New relationships make her remember her past and deal with the hurt.
I thought the story was good. It alternated between the present and the past, showing what happened to Shelby in childhood and how she dealt with it as an adult. The German setting was interesting as well.
This story is beautifully written. The very emotional flashbacks skillfully draw you in, to care about Shelby and her brother, Trey, and root for their healing. I am very impressed with the quality of the writing, and the sensitive way the subject of abuse is handled. The author is effective at building the story and inspiring understanding of the characters. I am infatuated with Scott! I'd like to see his "expressive brown eyes" and hear his sensitive love speeches, she wrote him so well. The little girl is so endearing! She reminds me of all the precious four-year-olds I have known. The author managed a happy ending, even for such a difficult subject. This book is well worth reading.
Once I started reading this book, I could not put it down. The author did an excellent job writing about the effects that survivors of domestic violence face, especially at the hands of their parents. The story is about a woman named Shelby, who inherited her 4 year old half-sister. In the beginning of the book, Shelby is barely functioning because of the pain of her childhood and the only person that seems to keep her sane is her older brother. Together, the siblings survived a violent childhood, but they still bear the scars from that childhood. However, when 4 year old Shayla enters Shelby's life, she discovers a strength and love that she did not know she had. The two leave their home and go to live in Germany, where Shelby works as a teacher at a missionary kids' school. While there, Shelby discovers lessons about God, love, and faith from some characters that readers will find endearing. This was a great book and I really enjoyed reading it.
At the beginning of the book, the author quotes Ernest Hemingway about being "strong in the broken places" and that was a perfect summary of this story. This is about Shelby Davis' journey as a woman suffering from the lingering effects of her father's abuse. Even though her father left the family while she was a teenager, he continues to inform her life and her decisions. Ironically, it is through his act of placing a 4 year old in Shelby's care that starts her on the road to healing. There are flashbacks of the abuse inflicted on Shelby and her brother, Trey (as well as their coping skills to survive) interspersed with Shelby's present situations. I thought the author did such a realistic job of portraying, not only the abuse, but how children react---anger, ambivalence (hate/love the abuser), low self-esteem, fear, and guilt. The author really has a way with words, creating imagery that illuminates what's on the page. I was surprised at Shelby's wit---at times sarcastic, self-deprecating but funny--she banters well with her brother and her romantic interest, Scott (except for the occasional Scarlett O'Hara imitations). On a religious note, the author does include the topic of why God allows suffering, using C.S. Lewis (Shelby is directing a school play about C.S. Lewis and his love) but I think I would have liked to see how God was woven into Shelby's daily life. That's just my opinion and it didn't deter from this book. I'd definitely recommend this to anyone.
Shelby is a single woman in her mid-thirties from a broken home with an abusive father who has finally created a stable, if far from perfect, life for herself. Then one day, she receives news that she has been named the sole guardian of four-year-old Shayla. For a working woman with no intentions of marriage or children, the sudden responsibility is staggering. When coupled with a move to a new job in Germany, the drama required to drive this plot abounds. However, supporting it is one of the better unlikely love stories I've read in a while-the one between an unlikely mother and daughter, each lost, and each struggling to find a home.
This was a funny, down to earth, full of the great moments that come with child-rearing and tinged with some of the bittersweet, and even painful, moments of when childhood goes wrong. Shelby's desire to prevent her own history repeating in Shayla's life is a common factor of every parent who decides they will be different from their own parents. And the discovery that even when things go completely wrong there is forgiveness between parents and children is the life of every Christian.
Highly recommended. Especially for fans of parenting memoirs.