Friday, February 13, 2009

My Review - This Side of Heaven

THIS SIDE OF HEAVEN by Karen Kingsbury reminds me of some of her early works, in that it isn’t a novel with a storybook ending. Josh Warren, is a young man– that through choices of his own and a few bad breaks –finds himself alone, overweight, working as a tow trucker driver, and a disappointment in the eyes of his parents. Life isn’t exactly turning out the way he wanted, but he’s hopeful that he can turn things around. Suffering from excruciating pain caused when a drunk driver hits him on the job, Josh awaits the insurance settlement that’s going to get him back on track. But more than the money, it’s the determination Josh has to find Savannah– the daughter he fathered on a weekend fling –so he can be the daddy she deserves. Nate and Annie Warren struggle with the life their son is leading. They refuse to believe that Savannah is Josh’s daughter, and even more disappointed that he put himself in such an immoral position. Unable to work because of his accident, Annie fears he’s addicted to OxyContin and doing nothing to get his life together. Soon, everything changes for Nate, Annie, and their daughter, Lindsay. To late, they learn that their son, in his own simple way was a good friend to his handicapped and elderly neighbors, and helps one of his online friends find Christ. Feeling as if she didn’t know her son at all, Annie delves into Josh’s life to find the son she ignored.Without spoiling the story, I will just say that THIS SIDE OF HEAVEN was shocking, leaving me angry at times and in tears others. As you read the beginning chapters, you map out in your mind where the story is going to go, only to have it take an enormous left turn. As I read with frustration the next several chapters, the story pulled me back in and allowed me to have some solace in the ending. The only negative I would have to offer is the timeline for the severing of parental rights and adoption. My son and daughter have lived this story. And even though the mother was proven to be incompetent, it took a year for the courts to finally severe her rights and allow my kids to move into the adoption process – which will take another year. Other than that, THIS SIDE OF HEAVEN, though bittersweet, is a great example of the tragedies of life, and though Christian’s aren’t exempt from these heartbreaks, we are able to feel the love and mercy God offers us in these times of heartache.

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