Into the Free, by the way I love that name, has so much that I can identify with. No, I did not have the exact same experiences that Millie did, but I remember feeling some of the same feelings she had at nine years old. I also have had experiences visiting in Mississippi after some of my family moved there, had a niece born there. The whole atmosphere is different there from where I grew up. I visited mostly in the Delta, and down by the shore, but I did get to did experience driving through some of their forests.
Millie was only nine years old when her best friend Sloth died. Sloth was an older man who lived close, but he was there for her whenever she needed him, unlike either of her parents. Millie's Mama always was either very sad, or in bed after having taken medicine to make her forget everything. She also took in ironing to make extra money. Jack, her Dad, was gone a lot working at a rodeo for his boss, who also owned the small home they lived in. Jack was a very angry abusive man and he hurt her Mama a lot. Millie always thought there were secrets there somewhere.
Millie had other adventures after Sloth died, meeting new people who influenced her life. One in a completely unexpected way. Millie had trouble even thinking about God because she felt He never listened to her or helped her, so it's good to watch her grow.
My favorite section of the book is "You know what's special about these flowers?" she asks, handing me a petal from the bouquet I brought her and bending to smell it's sweet breath. "They're one of the first to bloom?" I guess. "Well, that's special for sure, but there's something else." Mama says, rubbing her smooth finger across my back to spell out the letters D-O-G-W-O-O-D. "Remember when Jesus was nailed to the cross?" I nod, never tiring of Mama's stories."It was made from a dogwood tree." I have always loved dogwoods.
There were places in this book that I shed a tear or two, and some where I couldn't quit smiling.
I am ready right now to read the next book When Mountains Move, can't wait.
Incredible!! That's the first word that comes to mind when I try to describe this book. It's been a long time since I read a story that flowed so well and made me wish I could read faster, but yet I didn't want it to end. Cantrell's exquisite ability to paint a picture with words is astounding.
Fortunately, there is a sequel to this book, called When Mountains Move. I am excited to start reading it next.
If I could give this book more than 5 stars, I would. It's that good!
I received a copy of Into the Free directly from the publisher as a thank you for reading and reviewing When Mountains Move.
I've read few books as engrossing as Into the Free. I was hooked from the first chapter. The writing is excellent as it tells the story of a young girl in a small Mississippi town, as she learns that everything isn't always how it seems and that everyone has secrets.
Her father is abusive and her mother, too heartbroken to care about much of anything. You get to see life from Millie's point of view as she tries to hold her family together and learns strength and how to trust through the losses life keeps throwing her way.
This book has four stars because of the great writing and the fabulous details the author included. I didn't particularly enjoy the story and it is not a favorite of mine. It almost had me crying in parts and while the realism is great, I had a hard time dealing with all that Millie went through. The author could've stopped it anywhere instead of taking the story in the direction she did. I don't understand her choice, but it is just that, her choice. I also have a hard time with the fact that while Into the Free is listed as a Christian book, Millie never really "found" God. She spends the whole book remembering things her mother has talked about regarding the Bible, but never really makes a decision one way or the other. She prays occasionally and her mother quotes scripture to her, but she still has these odd ideas that don't match up with any Christian faith I've heard of. I honestly don't understand that part at all.
I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a clean, thought provoking read.
I received this book through The Book Club Network for my honest review, which I have given.
Note: please do not let my opinions prevent you from reading this book. That is not in any way my intention with this review. I do not wish to hurt the author or discourage anyone from reading Into the Free.
From the book club chat I was to receive When Mountains Move and was surprised to get this book also. This is the first book in the series so I read it first. Then I'll read and review When Mountains Move.
I wanted to read this book because of the summary of the book-travel to a place I've never been to.
Book starts out with Millie and she lives in MS with her mother and father. Jack rides in the rodeo and is usually not at home.
Marie does laundry and other chores for the people on the plantation. Although they live in servants cabins they have a deal with Mr. Sutton and pay a monthly rent.
Her life is described on a daily basis of the places she goes around the woods and fields to her neighbor Sloth who allows her to accompany him on his chores-collecting eggs for the master Sutton and other chores.
She hides when her mother is beaten and finally gets up the nerve to see her father at his rodeo show. Accidents happen and she was lucky to meet River, a gypsy who travel through town once a year. She learns from the old woman that she has to find out about her past before the future can be shown to her.
She finds the box and the old woman gives her the key-a Pandora's box of sorts. She confronts her mother as to the meaning of all the items in the box-her past. She learns so much about her other families and realizes why they don't accept her into their lives.
Circumstances leave her in the care of the Millers and she finds out secrets about them and her mother. When a tragic event occurs she makes up her mind and tracks down where her mother was taken to so she can get anything she left for her.
She confides in Mabel throughout the story and they have a treasured friendship. She has a choice to make: go with River the gypsy on his journey or go with Bump and Mr. Tucker who run the rodeo and shows as they have taken care of her and her family for everything she ever needed.
Not sure if her decision is the right one...
What I really liked was the very detailed descriptions of the land and learning new things about the horses and the ways of they gypsies.
I received this book from Book Club Network (bookfun.org) in exchange for my honest review.
INTO THE FREE by Julie Cantrell is a beautifully written story about a couple of definitely un-beautiful subjects. Domestic abuse and neglect within a family, and Christians all about "show and rules" rather than the Biblical love of Christ where Christ chooses a relationship with people rather than religion of "snotty attitudes" of man made rules.
Millie is a southern girl , daughter of a star rodeo rider and a drug dependent mother. Her father spends much of the time on the road with the rodeo---thankfully-- because when he comes home he spends most of his time degrading and beating her mom. Though he doesn't beat Millie, he makes it very clear that he considers her worthless, unless he is calling her derogatory names. She spends most of her time with her elderly neighbor, or up in her special tree. Though her grandfather is a minister, his "correctness" and abuse to the "imperfect Christian" shows everything that Christ refers to as ( Luke 6:42)--"how can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,' when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother's eye."
The book covers Millie's life from a pre-teen to a 17 year old. Explaining more about her difficult, but interesting life would give too much of the book away, but suffice it to say, the author tells a beautifully different and painful story of Julie's life from abuses, to her freedom to determine her own life. There are rodeo people, horse trainers, gypsies, helpful ghosts, romances, a different baptism, and painfully sad abuses that add up to this wonderful book.
Characterization, story telling, and plot development at it's very best. So real and heartbreaking, yet so full of the greatest hope possible!