Saturday, May 23, 2009
Daisy Chain: My Review
One reason I like Christian fiction is that the books are usually light happy reads, and everything wraps up with a bow at the end. That may not be indicative of a sophisticated reader, but it is me. I read for entertainment and generally speaking, I choose happy books. Daisy Chain is not a happy book.
Daisy Chain is the story of Daisy, the daughter of a single mother, and her best friend Jed Pepper. They live in the town of Deliverance, Texas and in 1977 they are thirteen years old. He is afraid of his father's wrath if he is late for supper, so he doesn't walk her home one night. She never makes it home; she is missing and the rest of the book is a search for her. While she is found before the book ends, how and why she disappeared is suggested, but never completely determined. Since this is the first book in a trilogy, I have to wonder if the ultimate resolution will be different.
Domestic abuse is a major part of this book. Jed's father is a minister, a pillar of the community, and his entire family is physically abused. The book is Christian fiction and faith is a part of the story, from both a good and bad standpoint. The abusive minister preaches about the sins of his family and is in all ways nothing like what a Christian should be. Jed wonders whether prayer really helps. For people of faith, trying to figure out the power of prayer vs the Santa God is part of growing up, and in a lot of way this is a coming of age novel, so I'd say the faith elements are important to the story, but not preachy.
Since one thing I often do when reviewing Christian fiction is point out where books misrepresent or paint a poor picture of Catholicism, I have to point out how well Mary Demuth depicts it in this book. Jed's father is pastor of what seems to be your basic generic Protestant church. However, he hates Catholicism and has preached against it. He forbids his wife from being friends with Muriel, a Catholic woman who is dying of cancer. We learn that Muriel, who befriends Jed, was raised Catholic but had no faith until married a man who was the pastor of one of these small independent survivalist "we hate everyone but us" Christian churches. He was abusive, but did preach about Jesus and through him she learned about Jesus. She said when she really learned about Jesus, it made her want to return to the Catholic Church, but her husband stood in her way. When he died, she returned to the Church.
The book is well-written. While it wasn't a "fun" read it was enjoyable in its own way and I recommend it.