Books about abuse are really hard to write (or so I would imagine) without coming off sounding preachy or too "after-school-special." Beth Fehlbaum's new young adult novel, Courage in Patience: A Story for Those Who Have Endured Abuse, is one that achieves the goal of a thought-provoking, interesting plot, deep characters, and a good message, with only a tad bit of the after-school-special feel. Not too bad!
Ashley Asher (yeah, she knows alll about her name), is a 15 year old girl living in small Texas town, that has been forced to live through years of abuse, emotional, physical, and sexual, at the hands of her stepfather. When she finally takes the step to confide in someone...her mother... Ashley is met with a woman that turns her back on her daughter, chosing husband over the child she gave birth to.
Devastated and haunted, Ashley moves in with her birth father and his wife, an English teacher, who attempts to help Ashley heal and work through the pain her step-dad and mother left with her. Though she finds it difficult to trust her dad, suffering from her trauma deep down inside, Ashley slowly begins to make an honest attempt at learning to live without fear.
Courage in Patience is emotionally draining to say the least, but probably a good place to start for teens that are have never read a fictional account of abuse before. It's not graphic, but rather relies more on the emotional end to tell the story.
A part in the plot that I felt was probably...hmm...I don't know, "irrelevant" was when Ashley's stepmother, Bev, chooses a controversial book for the summer reading selection, which sets off a huge cloud of issues within the small, religious town. That could have been a good plot in itself, but I kinda felt it was unnecessary with Ashley's story. Maybe that opinion is just my own!
The dialogue was believable and the story, if not heartbreaking, was realistic. A good read overall.
To learn more or to purchase, click on the book cover above to link to Amazon.
Courage in Patience: A Story of Hope for Those Who Have Endured Abuse