It took me entirely too long to read HOPE IN PATIENCE by Beth Fehlbaum (West Side Books 2010). Somehow this book got stuck behind other books. I should not be permitted to double shelve ANYthing. In any event, it kept me good company on the flight to NYC last week. I am pleased to be able finally to talk about this remarkable book about the resiliency of the human spirit.
Ashley Asher has moved in with her father and stepmother in their home in Patience, Texas. She has not known her father long, but he has rescued her from an abusive household with her mother and stepfather. Now, Ashley hopes to put some of the awful events of her past behind her. It is not a simple matter; Ashley's stepfather sexually abused her; Ashley's mother defended him instead of protecting her own daughter. Ashley wants desperately to be like everyone else in her class: carefree, happy, "normal." With the help of her new family and some other caring people in her life, there might just be light at the end of the tunnel.
There are no easy answers here. Nor should there be given the circumstances Ashley has to live with and then somehow survive. Fehlbaum has told an honest, searing story that shows Ashley moving slowly toward what will be her "normal." This should offer hope for readers, especially those who might find themselves in similarly frightening situations.
And speaking of the phrase "the light at the end of the tunnel," Natalie rode through her first tunnel (Lincoln Tunnel) on the way into the city. I forget sometimes that things I take for granted are still new experiences for others. Needless to say, Natalie now knows what the phrase "light at the end of the tunnel" truly means.