Thursday, March 12, 2009

WordVessel Book Review of Daisy Chain by Mary E. DeMuth

WordVessel Book Review of Daisy Chain by Christian Author Mary E. DeMuth

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Daisy Chain

Imagine the horror of learning a child in your community is missing. Now pretend that you are the best friend of the child that's missing. Go one step further: How would you feel if, as the best friend, you believed you were somehow to blame?The book, Daisy Chain by Mary DeMuth, tells the story of fourteen-year-old Jed Pepper, whose best friend, Daisy Chance, disappears one summer evening in 1977.The first chapter is a poignant scene between Jed and Daisy, and takes place right before she goes missing. The rest of the story tells about Jed's struggle with guilt, and his journey to find out what has happened to her. But interwoven throughout this main story is a second thread dealing with family secrets.As you can well imagine, because of the subject matter this is not a "fluffy" read. It's gritty and raw and edgy, but it's all those things done well.Here are the things I particularly enjoyed about this book:1. STRONG CHARACTERIZATIONThe author does an amazing job of bringing the characters to life on the page. Many times when you read a book told from the viewpoint of children, the characters seem like miniature adults instead of kids. Not in this story.One of my all-time favorite books is To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The main thing that drew me into that story was the voice of Scout. The voices of Jed, Sissy and Daisy from Daisy Chain are equally compelling.2. TIGHTLY WOVEN PLOT STRUCTUREThe skill Mary DeMuth displays as she weaves in the story thread of family secrets is nothing short of masterful. If you've ever watched a person skilled at embroidery, you will understand what I mean. They sew in this thread and that one, and a work of art comes together in a beautiful whole. That is what happens in this story.3. TRUE TO LIFE PLOTWe all love fairy tale endings where everyone lives happily after. The only problem with fairy tales is--well, they're just that--fairy tales. DeMuth brings resolution to this story without tying all the loose ends into one pretty package. The characters still have issues to address and deal with when the story ends. That makes it more true to life for me.4. A GREAT SUPPORTING CASTAll my favorite movies have a good supporting casts, and that's one thing I appreciated about this book. The secondary characters were realistically portrayed and compelling. There was also a great deal of variety among the secondary characters.The story's main antagonist is Jed's father, Hap Pepper. The author makes the reader sympathize with even this character, which makes the "bad guy" in the story more realistic, and not a cardboard stereotype.5. GREAT CHAPTER ENDING HOOKSOne way great authors keep readers turning the pages is through strong chapter endings--those endings where you can't put the book down. That's definitely true of Daisy Chain. If it's getting late and you have to up early the next day, I highly suggest stopping in the middle of the chapter. If you read on to the end, I guarantee you won't put it down.If you're looking for a story with a strong spiritual thread of redemption, lifelike characters and an amazing plot, you won't be disappointed with Daisy Chain by author Mary DeMuth.
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