Last summer at SheSpeaks I had the opportunity to not only sit at the feet of Mary DeMuth in a class, but I had the opportunity to receive her novel "Daisy Chain" -- a signed copy! -- for agreeing to read it and tell you what I thought about it! Well, how hard is that?
Sadly, when I returned from the conference, our family turned around and left on vacation and by the time I got back the book had gotten put.... who knows where and forgotten. A few weeks ago I signed up to receive the next book in that series -- again, FOR FREE!!, if I would just tell you what I thought about it -- so I decided that I should know what I thought of the first one!
I dug it out for my trip to Louisiana at Christmas. Truth in advertising: when I went to Mary's class, I received another free copy that I gave to Ashley to read while I was also reading. She stayed ahead of me the whole time. She is so funny. Ashley is my child who, EVERY YEAR, tries to convince us that it is family tradition to open Christmas presents on Christmas Eve. It isn't, but it has now become tradition for her to try to convince us that it is.
Ashley couldn't stand that I didn't know all she did about what was going on in the book. "Where are you now? Can you believe that guy? I don't like this guy at all..." We were both enthralled and could hardly wait for the next page/ chapter to unfold.
"Daisy Chain" is set in Defiance, Texas. The main character is a 14 year old boy, Jed, who I now love dearly and want to adopt. Jed's best friend, Daisy, goes missing in the first few chapters of the book, leaving Jed with plenty of guilt and to face his father's abusive fury. There are so many quality characters in this book that you will find yourself in at least one of them. I love when a book -- or even TV show or movie, honestly -- is like real life in that it not only establishes one or two characters, but an entire community. That is what "Daisy Chain" did -- we got to know quite a bit of Defiance -- the good, the bad, and the ugly. And the lovely. Just like your town has.
Years ago, I asked my former Children's Literature teacher for book recommendations for Ashley -- specifically if there were any Christian books she would recommend. She shook her head sadly and said, "Like adult Christian fiction, most of it is just so bad..." And as I thought about what little I had tried to read, I realized she was so very, very right. Mary DeMuth is finally taking that label off of Christian fiction and giving us quality fiction to read with real characters struggling with real life and real Christianity.
I HIGHLY recommend Daisy Chain. It has some difficult subjects in it, but nothing I would describe as graphic or gruesome. As I said, I let my 14 year old daughter read it, who is an avid reader and has read many mature books. It gave us opportunity to discuss people who are real in their Christianity and those who are not and where we plan to land on that spectrum. I even called Denise and said, "You have to use this for book club!" Yeah, you need to read it!
As a matter of fact, as mentioned, I even have one to give away. Daisy Chain is set in stifling summer. Texas is currently frozen solid. So, think to summer. Tell me about what you would do this weekend if it were the end of July or beginning of August. OR tell me about your favorite summer shoes (there are several things in "Daisy Chain" that make me think about summertime and what it does to our feet). Each person that comments before Sunday, January 10 at 6 p.m. will be entered in the drawing for the book. (I'll use a fancy random drawing like so).