Reading Mary DeMuth's novels stretches me as I turn every page. She draws me in deeper and deeper to places I do not want to go, but in the end--I'm very glad I went.
Her new release, "Daisy Chain" involves the disappearance of young Daisy Chance. It's the summer of 1977, and it's a summer that will change the lives of the citizens of Defiance, Texas forever.
For Jed Pepper, his one chance to do something worth doing passed him by, and he wonders if he'll ever have such a chance again. Raised in a hyper-religious home, Jed's understanding of God is as garbled as his father's messages.
Being raised in a minister's family is hard enough. But when the ministry doesn't penetrate more than skin deep in the man, bad things can end up happening to a family in a fish bowl.
As Daisy puts it, Jed's family ain't normal.
Many of the citizens of Defiance, Texas aren't normal. Mary challenges us to figure out what normal is, and then to peer deep inside ourselves to see where we fall on that normal scale.
Questions abound: what has happened to Daisy? Will more children disappear from Defiance? Can Jed find it within himself to stand up for the weak and defenseless? And what is up with their neighbor?
Quirky characters abound as well. Hixon makes you want to believe. Hap makes you wonder about people who claim to believe. And you'll find yourself praying for the helpless like Mama, Sissy, and Bald Muriel.
Be prepared: her novels are highly charged emotional reading experiences. Keep a box of tissues handy, and DO NOT skip to the very end. Though the journey from page one to the final page is at times agonizing, the trip will change you.
It has changed me.
"Daisy Chain" receives the Golden Bookmark award from me for excellence in writing craft. You won't be the same once you've met Daisy and Jed. I think that's a very good thing.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Authored by Deena Peterson at 4:58 PM