Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mother and Daughter

Reviewed by Phee Paradise
Things Worth Remembering by Jackina Stark

The title of Things Worth Remembering is appropriate because the two main characters spend most of it remembering some painful things in their past. I might have added the tiny word “not” to the title. The story takes place during the week before Maisey’s wedding. She comes home to get ready, but does everything she can to avoid her mother, Kendy. Somehow, nine years before, their close relationship soured. Maisey’s deliberate coldness hurts her mother, who longs for the loving affection they shared before she turned 13.

This book pushed one of my buttons. I don’t understand people who let hurts accumulate instead of talking to the one who hurt them and giving them a chance to ask for forgiveness. Maisey has been harboring her adolescent pain for far too long. I identified with Kendy a little better, but instead of insisting on discovering what was wrong, she swallows her hurt and tries to keep being a loving mother. As the book progresses, Stark reveals that the hurts are many layered. Eventually, mother and daughter have that talk, but it’s not as simple as I wanted to make it.

One of the strengths of the book are two wonderful men. Both love strongly enough to see their women through the pain, and to confront them when they are wrong. The two couples exemplify the unity of a Godly marriage.

Although this is a well told story, the author experimented with point of view, and it didn’t quite work for me. Kendy and Maisey alternate telling it in present tense. But they do so much remembering that a great deal of the story is in past tense. It felt awkward instead of clarifying where they were in time. But Stark uses memories beautifully, to explain the present problems, and eventually to resolve them, and this makes the book worth reading.

Pros: Well told story of a long standing hurt between mother and daughter. It has characters one can identify with who try to obey God while they deal with real life issues.

Cons: Point of view is a little confusing.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Things Worth Remembering

Bethany House (October 1, 2009)


Jackina Stark


Jackina (pronounced with a long “i” to rhyme with China) Stark recently retired from teaching English at Ozark Christian College to spend more time writing and traveling.

Jackina says: "Although I loved my subjects and my students, I retired to do more writing and speaking, to spend more time with my family, and to travel with family and friends (including trips to encourage two missions in Cambodia). I have also spoken nationally and internationally at many retreats and seminars and enjoy running into many readers and former students. I have written frequently for both Christian Standard and Lookout, periodicals of Standard Publishing. Years ago I wrote two non-fiction books, published by College Press, but currently out of print. These days, I’m exploring fiction. My first novel, Tender Grace, was released by Bethany House January 30, 2009, and Things Worth Remembering, is the second. I’m working on new projects, including a third novel, as time permits. Whether speaking or writing, I love the opportunity to tell about Him whom Jesus called “Holy Father” and “the only true God.”

She has been married to her husband, Tony, for forty-two years. They live in Carl Junction, Missouri, and have two daughters and six grandchildren.


Kendy Laswell and her daughter, Maisey, used to do everything together--until one fateful summer when Maisey witnessed something she shouldn't have, and their relationship fractured. Now, Maisey is back home to get married and Kendy realizes this is her last chance to reconnect with her daughter. Will Kendy and Maisey be able to reclaim the bond they once shared?

Maisey asked for a bride doll the Christmas she was five, mesmerized by her aunt's wedding the fall before. Since then I've been dreaming of the day, or days, we would shop for her wedding dress. A mother helping her daughter find just the right creation for that momentous walk down the aisle strikes me as one of life's happiest endeavors. The night she called to tell us she'd bought her "dream of a gown," I sat beside Luke on the couch, a striking contrast to Maisey's exuberance.
My dejection seemed a tad inappropriate. "Being hurt because I wasn't included is silly, isn't it?" I asked.

"Not so silly," he said.

Will I ever quit longing for the Maisey who was once mine?

To read the first chapter of Things Worth Remembering , click HERE

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