“But she was the same girl I had fallen in love with, the same girl who had cast a spell I wasn’t sure I would ever escape,” Matt recalls in Chris Fabry’s novel, The Promise of Jesse Woods.
~ What ~
This four-hundred-nineteen-page paperback targets those who enjoy a romantic fiction of youths making important decisions and understanding life changes. With no profanity, topics of sexual abuse, pregnancy, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes acknowledgments, the author’s biography, a dozen discussion questions, and advertisements.
~ Why ~
This tale set in 1972 and 1984 is written in first person by thirteen-year-old Matt Plumley, a preacher’s kid whose family has moved to the small town of Dogwood, West Virginia. Always being on the outside of society, Matt befriends Dickie, a boy of mixed race whose father is serving in Vietnam, and Jesse Woods, a poor Appalachian girl who has to take care of her three-year-old sister.
Against Matt’s parents’ wishes, the three become best friends, sharing some of their deepest secrets. When Jesse and Matt make promises to each other, he believes they should be kept, even twelve years later when he returns to Dogwood to see her get married.
~ Why ~
Typical of Fabry’s writing style, the story engages readers as they are pulled into one after another dilemma of Jesse’s sad and challenging life of never being in control or getting what is expected. With Matt’s parents promoting Christianity, sometimes they cross bounds when loving their children. Containing twists of emotional and spiritual outcomes, it is not until the ending that Matt understands self-sacrifice and love.
~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like stories written in first person about three coming-of-age preteens, interpersonal relationships, family dynamics, and hardships may not be interested in reading this one.
~ Who ~
Winner of several Christy Awards, Fabry has authored over seventy books for adults and children. He is a native of West Virginia and is married with nine children.
~ Wish ~
I wish all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.
~ Want ~
If you want a story about facing the past while trying to move into the future and learning God is in control, this is a light read surrounding the pubescent years of a boy and girl.
Rated 4.5 of 5 stars.
Thanks to Tyndale for this book to read and review.
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GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.