Sunday, October 22, 2006

Wishing on Dandelions Review

I enjoyed Wishing on Dandelions, this second novel by author Mary DeMuth. The writing was poetic, but also fast-paced narrative, with the words flowing into the next seemlessly. An example of this writing is, "He left out the back door, as she offered the glass of tea to an empty space."

Reading this book, I was still rooting for Maranatha. Since her character has aged eight years since I became acquainted with her in Watching the Tree Limbs, it was fulfilling for me to see her strength of character developed in spite of no early positive influences, and lonliness due to lack of love and security. She knows what is right and minds her manners. She lives without prejudice in a place and time when it is so deeply ingrained that it is hard to overcome. She longs to be known, but fears to open up.

One thing that I struggled with early on was that she was constantly asking God to show her proof that He loved her. But then I began thinking about it, and realized that her asking was an expression of her faith in itself. She had been without love for so long that she did not feel that she had any right to be loved. The fact that she even feels that she has the right to ask for this, shows her realization of God's love as something that she does deserve, but she still longs for proof to silence the skeptical thoughts that have been sown in her mind for her whole life.

As with the first novel, this book deals with a character's struggle in the midst of trial, yet it's within a context of hope, not doom and despair. In fact, if you avoided the first novel due to the subject of sexual abuse, you could definitely read this one without the context of the first one, although I would still highly recommend that you read Watching the Tree Limbs as well.

I think that anyone who has endured sexual abuse, or is close to someone who has, should read these books together, since we, the readers, experience the gradually healing to wholeness that Maranatha experiences. I think that these books are perfectly appropriate for teens to read, as well. Perhaps the struggle that a teen has (with God, or with life) is not with sexual abuse, but with another hurt such as divorce, abandonment or some other disappointment--that person could relate to Maranatha's struggle as well. Even though this book is written in the third person, DeMuth has done what every writer has wanted to do since Salinger wrote The Catcher in the Rye--write in the voice of a teenager.

I will close with a poem from the book:

Swaddled with aching truth,
You speak.
Tangled in listless hope,
You mourn.
Smothered from slavery,
You breathe.
Crumpled by circumstance,
You live.

And I smile to see it.

This review is linked to Semicolon's Saturday Review of Books.

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My Review for Watching the Tree Limbs

My Interview with author Mary DeMuth

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Fall Reading Challenge: four finished, making progress on six others, four still in the wings (and, um, two almost finished that aren't even in the challenge).


Kathleen Marie said...

I will definitely have to check out this author. This is a very good review. I enjoyed the imagry you shared as well as the poem.

Thank you for the encouragement to go for my dreams. You are quite right...dreams need to be put into action.

Carrie said...

This week I picked up a copy of The Royal Diaries: Mary Queen of Scots (they didn't have Elizabeth) based on your recommendation last week. I thought the whole concept was very original and nicely done. I'll be posting a review of it soon on my blog but I wanted to drop a note and say THANKS for the review. I'm curious to read more.

R.G. said...

Glad you enjoyed Wishing on Dandelions! I'm a huge fan of Mary's.

At A Hen's Pace said...

Thanks for the review! I will have to check out these two.

I followed the interview link to Calippider Days' review of Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God--and just ordered it! So thanks for pointing me there as well.

e-Mom said...

I think I heard you say that you too had suffered from sexual abuse. I'm really sorry to learn that, Jennifer. I'm glad you found encouragement and insight in this book.

Jennifer said...

And just to clear up the record, I have not experienced sexual abuse, but I do think that anyone who has or who knows someone who has would definitely relate (and hopefully not in an overly painful recollection).