Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

BOOK REVIEW: Moving From Judgment: How to Have an Open Heart in a Close World

December 5, 2011


By Joseph & Brenda Rinehart

Book review by Donna Totey

Moving from Judgment book review on SPIRIT 105.3

 

 

Who among us hasn’t looked at someone else and judged them?  Say you’re in a grocery store and see a mom harshly reprimand her child.  Or you’re in traffic and someone pulls out in front of you, causing you to slam on your brakes.  Or you see someone sitting in church and they’re wearing tattered jeans and kind of smell funny.  We get frustrated or superior or disgusted or even pious.  I know I’ve been there.  But sometimes we don’t even know we’re doing it.  The Rineharts talk about why we do this and how to move past it in their book, Moving From Judgment.

 

The book starts out with a very real discussion amongst the elders of the church and Joseph Rinehart, the pastor.  The question causing division is, “Are we taking in just anybody?” Unfortunately, people in a lot of churches across the country are having the same conversation, with reasons summed up as “letting the wrong kind of people in” or “being a novice.”

 

The Rineharts address the reasons for people being so judgmental, starting with Personhood.  They point out that humanity was given the power of free choice, and while very valuable and precious to God, we are capable of very destructive, self-centered and shortsighted actions. That is followed by Personal Values, which we all learn from influences in our family, personal experience, popular culture, preferences and our inborn human nature. Cultural Values are also a part of why we are the way we are.  Ultimately, the Rineharts point out that when we can recognize that “all humans possess equal value that has nothing to do with work, personality, attractiveness, values, behaviors or anything else,” then we can start to “treat one another with the dignity and respect due” to them based on who we are to God.

 

What if you’ve been the one judged?  Several principles are outlined to help you to get through it, and then move past it.  Joseph Rinehart, through his personal experiences, lays out 6 principles: Acknowledge the hurt, give yourself time, don’t pick at the scabs, let the train leave the station (move on and leave it behind), understand the nature of cause and effect (hurt people…hurt people) and use your hurt to heal others.

 

The final conclusion is that we all must look to God to not only overcome hurt, but to love others with the compassion of Jesus.  None of us are exempt from being judged or from doing the judging.

 

I love the subject of this book because most of us could stand to work on our judgmental hearts.  We are yearning to be more like Christ and this is an area in which we are sometimes blind.  I like what the Rineharts state…”Since the world around us changes daily, if not hourly, we have a deep-seated need to build our priorities on something solid that does not change—the reason that Jesus emphasized the need to ‘love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength.’” The Rineharts aren’t just talking about theories here; they’ve walked through some very painful personal experiences, where they had to try to understand the judgments made against them.

 

Moving from Judgment is not a book that can be read in one sitting.  The text is rich with theology and ideas that one must “chew on” to really understand the concepts. In each chapter, there’s a section titled, “Going Deeper” in which there are several scripture passages, with the background of what was happening at that time in history and “The Point,” why it’s significant in our lives today.  Then there’s a prayer, which I found very meaningful and conversational, which was helpful in expressing to God what I just learned and asking Him to change me in those specific ways.  Because of the format, the book lends itself to be used on a personal level or as a tool for a group.

Book Review: The Shack by William P. Young

March 24, 2011

Book Review by Donna Totey

I must be one of the last people to read The Shack.  Written in 2007 by William Paul Young, this book quickly swept across the country and has on the New York Times Bestseller List for well over two years.  Since being published, over 10 million copies have been printed.  And now I see why.

The Shack is the story of Mackenzie Allen Phillip, better known as Mac, and the process he went through after the abduction and murder of his youngest daughter, Missy.  Unable to successfully deal with her death, years later Mac is still going through what he calls, “The Great Sadness” which penetrates his daily life.  One day, he receives a mysterious note from “Papa” that invites to the shack.  The same shack where evidence of Missy’s murder was found.  Mac is at first horrified, but then considers the offer and eventually makes plans to spend a weekend there.

After Mac arrives at the shack, it becomes transformed before his eyes, apparently due to the presence of “Papa,” an outgoing African-American woman, who also happens to be God.  Now stay with me…God appears to Mac in this form because this is apparently how Mac needs to see Him.  Along with Papa are a flannel-wearing Jesus and a small woman named Sarayu, who is the Holy Spirit.

I know it all sounds weird…it did to me, too.  But what follows is actually very beautiful.  Mac learns how to really have relationship with God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  Because of his weekend with them, the barriers that Mac always held up between himself and God are torn down.  The three also help him to heal and cope with Missy’s death, bringing Mac closure and peace.  Mac learns to put his trust in God fully and completely, even to the point of choosing to forgive Missy’s killer.

I think what has attracted millions of people to this book is the very real, very personal relationship Mac has with Papa, Jesus & Sarayu.  Papa delights in Mac, whom she is “especially fond of.” What I see is that God isn’t someone who is ethereal and far away.  Or someone who is sitting on a giant throne, ready to squash us if we make the wrong move. God is someone who we can sit at the table and enjoy a meal with.  Jesus is someone we can lay on the grass with and look at the clouds with.  The Holy Spirit is someone we can go fishing with.  We can be honest with God and share our most personal thoughts with Him.  And He’s someone who cares so much about each one of us.  I love how God’s delight in us is shown in such a real way in The Shack.  Mac, like many of us, didn’t have a good relationship with his earthly father and needed to see what a loving Father was like.

I know The Shack has been controversial, due in part to the portrayal of God as a woman.  To me, this is explained sufficiently in the book.  But this book is meant to be taken allegorically, not literally.  If you can read it in that spirit, I think you’ll find a few life-changing lessons in The Shack.

Book Review: Book of Days by James L. Rubart

January 28, 2011

Book Review by Donna Totey

“… in Your book all my days were recorded, even those which were purposed before they had come into being.”

—Psalm 139:16

Do you know anyone who is struggling with the existence of God?  Anyone who believes that He exists but doesn’t know what to do with that knowledge?  They have a lot in common with Cameron Vaux, the central character in Book of Days by James L. Rubart.

After his father dies from apparent Alzheimer’s disease, and his wife dies in a plane accident, Cameron starts to find that some of his memories are slipping away and he fears he’s suffering the same fate as his dad.  He recalls his father, in a more coherent moment, telling him about a book, written by God, which has all of one’s days recorded in it, past, present and future.  His wife also refers to the same book shortly before her death.  Cameron feels that finding the book is the key to fixing his memory problems.
 
He heads to Three Peaks, Oregon to find clues to the book’s whereabouts.  What he finds is a very tight, small community who, for the most part, won’t discuss the book.  He meets the fanatical Jason Judah, who seems to worship the idea of the book. Through several enigmatic clues, the path leads to Taylor Stone, who seems to hold the key to finding the book.  The question is whether the book is real or just a legend.  Also, enter Ann Bannister, Cameron’s late wife’s friend and foster sister, who is on a search of her own.

Book of Days was written while Rubart’s own father was dying of Alzheimer’s.  Rubart writes a lovely note at the end of the book about his father (don’t miss it.) The question arose for Rubart as to what happens to his father’s memories.  He says that God gave him Psalm 139:16.  Thus, the idea for Book of Days was born.
Book of Days, not only was an intriguing mystery, but also a good allegory for those who are seeking God.  Cameron was surrounded by people who had deep relationships with God, but failed to see Him until his own memory loss prompted him to seek out the Book of Days.  Maybe some of us are still seeking God, while others have had circumstances, much like Cameron’s, that sent us running to find God.

Taylor and Cameron both are paralyzed by events of the past.  Taylor, in particular, can’t let go of past mistakes and past hurts.  There’s a strong message of forgiveness, both of others and ourselves, that frees the person who forgives.

Jason Judah is the perfect example of someone who worships the creation and forgets to worship the Creator.  He takes this “religion” so far that it becomes a cult, neither relying on the truth in the Bible, nor on God. 

I found the book intriguing and I really didn’t anticipate the outcome until the very end.  There are tender moments, very suspenseful moments and I really didn’t want to put the book down!  I couldn’t wait to figure out whether the Book of Days was, indeed, real or not. I especially like how we find out about Cameron’s life a little at a time through flashbacks. 

There are many themes running through this book and a lot of smaller storylines. The twists and turns in the plot will ensure that you’ll be on the edge of your seat. Cameron’s journey to find a real Book of Days, like a lot of us, is about a journey to find out if God is real.  Anyone who’s longing for connection, with God and with others, will relate to some part of this book.  Because we’re all seekers, in one way or another.

Gotta Have It!

July 19, 2010

Review by Donna Totey

By Gregory L. Jantz, PhD

with Ann McMurray

Book Review by Donna Totey

I love the line on the back of this book, “Tame your inner two-year-old.” To be honest, I wasn’t sure I wanted to pick up this book and tame that inner two-year-old! I somehow knew that this book would change the way I look at my habits. Especially when I read the subtitle, Freedom from wanting everything right here, right now. There’s a kind of comfort in holding onto our emotional security blankets and I was reluctant to give mine up.

Dr. Jantz describes all the things that we never get enough of–an activity, food, behavior–as “excessities.” As a reward for ourselves, these things make us feel better, at least temporarily. For many of us, life can be hard and excessities can surely ease the discomforts of a rough day or a strained relationship. But the problem is that it masks our real need, the true comfort of a close relationship with God.

The first section of Gotta Have It! describes the “Power of Wants.” In most of us, we often confuse needs with wants. Dr. Jantz states that “once a desire has been categorized as a need, we’re pretty resourceful at finding a way to fill it–even when our methods are addictive, damaging, or hurtful.” We also feel we have a “right” to fill that need.

Dr. Jantz lists some things in our lives that can be “excessities.” The list surprised me. Of course I expected things like alcohol and drugs, maybe even food to be on the list. But caffeine! Then there’s electronics (ouch!), shopping, work, hobbies, among others.

Just when I was about to lose heart, Section Two lists what our real needs are. Dr. Jantz gently leads the reader through some of our major needs–comfort, reassurance, security, validation and control. I think anyone can identify with one or more of these needs. To pinpoint your specific needs is the first step in overcoming your love of and reliance on your excessities.

Then he finishes by pointing to God and all the things He can provide for us that help us lean on Him and not on excessities. Things like patience, endurance, contentment and many others. Dr. Jantz explains that our true fulfilment can only come from our relationship with God. We need to seek him to fill our true needs.

Possibly the best parts of this book are the “Planting Seeds” sections at the end of each chapter. The questions in these sections help the reader look at his or her own life and work through the principles described in each chapter. I felt that these sections led me through the process of examining my excessities, my needs and the different personal ways God can provide for me.

When I finished the book, I realized that the whole process wasn’t painful like I thought it would be! Instead of reluctantly letting go of my emotional security blankets, I felt excited to embrace the freedom God provides for us from our excessities. Dr. Jantz is so gentle and understanding in his explanations that he made it really easy to look at myself.

Book Review: Rooms by James L. Rubart

April 18, 2010

Book review by Donna Totey

The cover of Rooms touts that this book is “Part The Screwtape Letters and part The Shack.”  That’s a perfect description of this great allegory.  But it’s so much more than that.

Rooms begins with Micah Taylor finding out that his late great-uncle has given him a house in Cannon Beach, Oregon…one that was recently built just for Micah.  The catch? Micah has never met his great-uncle.

Micah decides to leave his multi-million dollar company and his girlfriend in Seattle to visit the house.  He soon discovers that this is no ordinary house.  In the huge house are many rooms, each apparently serving a different purpose.  Some rooms even appear where none were there before.  His great-uncle also leaves behind a stack of letters, written to Micah, which are to help him on his journey. The letters are filled with advice, wisdom about God and Bible verses.

In town, Micah meets Rick, the owner of the local garage, and they strike up an instant friendship.  Rick talks to Micah about God and seems to have some knowledge of the house.  Micah finds himself drawn to the house and starts to spend a lot more time there and a lot less time in Seattle.  His two lives become very separate from each other.

As Micah explores the house, he starts to discover things about himself and is forced to confront past hurts.  With each experience, he draws closer and closer to God.  And his life in Seattle, which is filled with all the world has to offer, figuratively and literally, starts to slip away.  Micah must then chose between his old life and his new life.

In one of the rooms, a mysterious voice appears that says he and Micah are the same.  Micah visits that room frequently, receiving advice that is, at times, contrary to the advice from his uncle and Rick.

When reading Rooms, one can’t help but compare Micah’s rooms with all the “rooms” in each of our lives.  As the author states, this book is about freedom.  Each room brings Micah a little more freedom as he confronts some things and lets other things go.  This is the freedom that we, as Christians, experience in some way when we choose God.  But it also confronts the areas of our lives in which we aren’t free…those “rooms” that we haven’t yet entered, for whatever reason.

While Micah is working through his hurts and struggles, the reader has the opportunity to look inside his own heart and see which “rooms” need to be explored.  As Micah experiences true freedom in God, one longs for that total freedom as well.  In one way or another, there’s an opportunity for the reader to relate to Micah’s situation.

In the back of the book are some discussion questions to help the reader get the most out of the book.  The questions are written so that they can be used in a group or alone.  As I read the questions, I felt that the lessons of the book became more solidified in my mind. 

Rooms is an amazing book in which Christians, new and old alike, can find the path to greater freedom in Christ and can experience more of His love and the joy one has in following Him.  This is the kind of book that sticks with you long after you’ve read the last page.

…And just footnote for us Northwesterners, it’s fun to read about all the familiar places, both in Seattle and in Cannon Beach.  The author has personal knowledge of these locations, being a Northwesterner himself.

Her Mother’s Hope by Francine Rivers

April 5, 2010

Book Review by Donna Totey

I’ve heard people rave for years about Francine Rivers, but never picked up one of her books.  After reading Her Mother’s Hope, I now know why she’s so popular.

Her Mother’s Hope is the first in a two-book saga that begins at the turn of the 20th century in a small town in Switzerland and spans many decades and countries. 

Marta Schneider, a determined, strong young lady, lives with her father’s poor and unfair treatment of her.  While he favors her older brother and weak younger sister, Marta can’t seem to do anything right.  She can’t figure out why he doesn’t seem to love her.  He tells her that her only value is in being a servant someday.  But she has a dream to run her own business and be independent.  Thankfully, her mother’s love and faith in God gives her strength.

Marta also watches as her mother “babies” her younger sister, Elise, keeping her dependent and fearful, which proves to be detrimental in the long run.

Once Marta escapes her abusive home, she takes jobs learning housekeeping and cooking.  Via England and France, she eventually makes her way to the United States where she opens her own boarding house.  When Niclas Waltert takes one of the rooms, Marta falls in love with him and they marry.  They move across the country, to Canada and finally settle in California.  In the midst of their travels, they start a family.

The second part of the book focuses on Marta and her relationship with her oldest daughter, Hildemara Rose, as seen through Hildemara’s eyes.  In her determination to make sure that her timid daughter doesn’t turn out like her sister, Elise, Marta is very hard on Hildemara.  The only clue to how much she really loves and admires her daughter is in the letters she writes to her old friend in Switzerland.  From Hildemara’s point of view, her mother doesn’t love her and is disappointed in her. 

Hildemara realizes her own dreams of becoming a nurse.  She meets a wonderful man, marries him and they start their own family.  When tragedy strikes, Marta finally realizes her mistakes and vows to make things right with her daughter.

One can’t help but notice the similarities between Marta’s relationship with her father and Hildemara’s relationship with her.  Marta’s father was very harsh with her, never showing love or considering what was in her best interest.  Hildemara felt as though her mother, who always seemed to be disappointed in her, treated her very unfairly.  I found myself cringing at the way Marta was acting towards Hildemara and wondering why she couldn’t see that she was acting just like her father.

While Marta felt that she needed to be hard on Hildemara to make her strong, she failed to see that Hildemara was already strong in her own way.  It was just different from Marta’s strengths. Marta couldn’t see that Hildemara had a different disposition and temperament than her and had many beautiful qualities.  When she finally realizes that, it’s almost too late to repair the relationship.

Francine Rivers weaves a beautiful and sometimes painful portrayal of a mother and daughter and the struggles and miscommunication they often experience.   It’s fascinating to see the same situation from two different perspectives.  She also does a wonderful job of showing the reader what Marta’s life is like and skillfully transitions to Hildemara’s story. 

The story captured my interest from the first page and I spent every free minute after that reading until I finished the book.  Ms. Rivers is able to tell the story of a realistic, simple faith in God, without sounding preachy or unrealistic.  My only complaint is that I have to wait for the second book in the series to come out!

Jacob DeShazer: Forgive Your Enemies

November 23, 2009

Book Review by Donna Totey

By Janet & Geoff Benge

Book Review by Donna Totey

YWAM Publishing puts out a series of books called, Christian Heroes: Then & Now which tell inspiring true stories of men and women who have answered God’s call.  This particular book tells of the life of Jacob DeShazer, one the famous Doolittle Raiders from World War II.  I have to admit that I wasn’t quite up on my World War II history and had never heard of Mr. DeShazer or the Doolittle Raiders.

While in the military as a bombardier, and after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Jacob was recruited for a top secret mission led by a man named Doolittle.  He and dozens of other military personnel were trained extensively for this mission. Jacob and the others found themselves heading for Japan on an aircraft carrier.  Their mission was to fly over strategic targets in Japan and be the first Americans to bomb there.  Although they successfully completed this task, the plane Jacob was in didn’t have enough fuel to get to neutral territory and all the crewmen had to bail out of the plane.  Within 24 hours, Jacob was captured by the Japanese and over the course of the next 4 years was sent to prison after prison.  Inside each prison, he was starved and beaten and lived in unthinkable conditions.  Jacob was eventually given a Bible and chose to give his life to Christ.  While in prayer, God impressed on him that he would eventually return to Japan someday and share the Gospel with the people there.  After the war, Jacob did return to Japan and began his ministry, which would last over 30 years.

What I love about this book is that it’s an adventure, a biography, a story that gives a glimpse into history and inspiring lesson in forgiveness.  Jacob DeShazer may have just been an ordinary farm boy from Oregon, but he took the horrible things that happened to him and did extraordinary things for God’s glory.  He went back to the country that had badly mistreated him, and with God’s love, shared the gospel story with them.  Instead of becoming bitter and vengeful, he forgave those who had starved and beaten him and showed them the way to Jesus.  Because of Jacob being willing to go where God directed, thousands of Japanese people became Christians.  That’s a pretty powerful lesson!  And Jacob didn’t just give a little bit of time to the Japanese people, he devoted most of the rest of his life to them.  Wow!

Not only does this book have a spiritual lesson, I thought all the history was fascinating.  I liked all the descriptions f World War II events from Jacob’s point of view.  The book describes the recruitment of the special mission, the military training, the preparation and the mission itself in great detail.  After reading about the different prisons and circumstances that Jacob had to endure, I learned about a very important event in U.S. History, one told in a much more compelling and personal way that in my high school history class.   I’d even like to read more about the Doolittle Raiders!

Because of the adventurous storytelling, this is a great book to share with kids and even to use as a family devotional.  I was kept on the edge of my seat, wondering what was to become of Jacob and his crewmates.  I was moved when Jacob recognized a former prison guard at a meeting and offered forgiveness and love.  I was amazed to find out that one of the key people who led the attack on Pearl Harbor, had become a Christian after the war.  And that the Emperor of Japan, in whom the country had put their faith, had confessed that he was a mere mortal, leaving the country without spiritual direction.  There are so many lessons to be learned from Jacob’s story.  And I think the biggest lesson of all is that he sought out God in prayer, listened to Him and obeyed—obeyed in going and obeyed in forgiving.

The Genesis Genealogies

October 27, 2009
BOOK-Genesis-Genealogies(DONNA)

Book Review

Book by Rev. Abraham Park

Book Review by Donna Totey

The subtitle of The Genesis Genealogies is “God’s Administration in the History of Redemption.”  Sounds a little academic, doesn’t it?  But Reverend Park shows the reader that through the Bible’s genealogies (a record or account of the ancestry and descent of a person) we can see God’s divine hand at work.

If you’re anything like me, I usually skip right through the genealogies when I come across them, dismissing them as insignificant.  But Reverend Park says it best, “We must not commit the grave mistake of overlooking them as meaningless enumerations of names.  With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we must discover and follow the rich vein of redemptive history that flows through the genealogies.”  I love how Reverend Park explains the information in the context of God’s great love for us.  The genealogies are not just information or even to be thought of in terms of their historical significance, but God’s involvement in our redemption.

This book opened my eyes to the wonderful plan of redemption that God has had for all people, right from the beginning.  Through the different people listed in the genealogies, God leads us right up to the sacrificial work that Jesus did for us on the cross.  Reverend Park states, “As we delve deeper into the study of the Genesis genealogies, we will be able to sense the magnitude of God’s abundant grace and love.”  The genealogies aren’t just a list of people “begetting” other people; it’s a demonstration of God’s very real love for us.

Reverend Park separates the genealogies into two lines—“the genealogy of the faithful who lived to fulfill God’s will, and the genealogy of the unfaithful whose lives stood against God’s will.”  The genealogies of the faithful are written with different details and information than those of the unfaithful.  The author points out that there are those who God chooses to see and those He chooses not to see.

The book shares information about different people’s lives, whether faithful or unfaithful, and how they chose to relate to God.  Cain, for example, was most likely taught all about God and heard from Him, but because of the evil in his heart, he chose to turn his back on Him.  And even though many of Cain’s descendents chose to follow the evil path, God’s will was even greater and more fervent and was and is still being carried out to this day, despite evil efforts.  On the other hand, Adam’s descendents showed how great walking with God can be.  And Adam’s life itself showed that God didn’t abandon us after the sin and failure of man, but worked to transform death into life through His great love.

I learned that the genealogies aren’t just lists, but examples not only of God’s great love for us, but also examples of how we should and shouldn’t live our lives.  The unfortunate paths of the unfaithful show us how not following God’s plan will cause grave consequences.  The paths of the faithful show us how, even though there might be or will be struggles, with God’s help and guidance, we will fulfill His plans for us.

Is Yeshua the Prophesied Messiah of the Hebrew Bible?

October 12, 2009
Book Synopsis for "Is Yeshua.."

Book Review for "Is Yeshua.."

Author:  Dan Kane

Book Review:  Donna Totey

The title is intimidating, but this book is rich with information about the Jewish culture and history.  It isn’t like a great fiction book that one wants to devour in one rainy afternoon.  It’s a book to be read in small sections and pondered upon.

The author starts by giving a detailed view of the culture surrounding the period of the New Testament.  He walks the reader through different events in Jesus’ life and how the Pharisees and others received each situation, based on their worldview.  I found it interesting how the Pharisees reacted and how, because of their own man-made interpretations of the Bible, that they were unable to accept Jesus.

The main theme of the book is that the Jewish leaders felt it necessary to interpret what God’s Word meant to them and pass it on as “oral traditions,” much of which still survives today.  They didn’t want to lose that information, so it was written down and further interpreted by scribes into what is known as the “Talmud.”  According to the author, the Talmud is “God’s Word mixed with numerous and sometimes contradictory scribe-created interpretive errors based on false traditions and fanciful tales, along with new rituals and additional teachings.”

Another section of the book is titled, “Non-Christian Doctrines Taught by So-Called Christian Churches” which explains how some churches today still use “oral traditions” and their own interpretation of the Bible as church doctrines.

The author also cites the many prophecies in the Old Testament that are related to Jesus being the Savior.  The odds, he states, that anyone would fulfill those prophecies are 1 in 240 trillion.

Overall, Is Yeshua the Prophesied Messiah of the Hebrew Bible is a great reference tool for anyone interested in New Testament Jewish culture and background, and also searching for information on their “oral traditions.”  The prophecies section is detailed and insightful.

Golden’s Rule: Review by Donna Totey

September 28, 2009
Golden's Rule: Review By Donna Totey
Golden’s Rule: Review By Donna Totey

Golden’s Rule is about Madison, a young teenage girl who has everything going for her—she’s the star of the basketball team, on track for college and maybe the pros—she’s got her whole life planned out for her.  Then, the bottom drops out as she discovers that she has a serious medical condition and she needs to fight for her life.  While she’s very ill, her mother gives her a handwritten diary from Golden Lea Jackson, one of her ancestors who was a slave girl in the 1800’s.
There are two stories to read and learn from in Golden’s Rule, and I was fascinated by both.  Madison is discovering what a lot of us know all too well…that even though we can have our whole future planned out, life throws curve balls and we need to adjust with God’s help.  Golden discovered an unwavering faith in God, even in the midst of the terribly difficult life of being a slave, without any control over her future.  I love how, as Golden’s story unfolds, Madison gets strength from her and grows in her own faith in God.

While both stories are fiction, Golden’s Rule gives a historical insight into a slave’s life and how they were treated in the 1800’s. The book also gives a good description of Madison’s illness so that you can really relate to her. There’s a particular sad moment for Golden as she remembers her mother being sold.  She never saw her again.  I think it’s an excellent way of teaching about slavery.

The perfect age group for this book is teen girls.  But it’s so captivating and beautifully written that any “girl” can appreciate it, regardless of age.  I sure did!

I think there’s a lesson and reminder in the book for everyone.  We can all plan our days and weeks and months but we need to always remember that God has the best plan for us and if we trust Him, He’ll bring us through


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