Thursday, November 11, 2010

Review: Hope in Patience

Synopsis:Fifteen-year-old Ashley Asher has spent half of her life living in fear. Her stepfather has been sexually abusing her for years, but her mother doesn't believe her. After his latest assault lands her in the emergency room, Child Protective Services finally removes Ashley from her home, and sends her to live with the father she barely remembers and his new family. Her new life in Patience, Texas, is much better. She's in therapy to deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and is trying to make her way in a new high school. She's getting used to living with her father, stepmother, and stepbrother, and she's made new friends in the summer course taught by her stepmother, Bev. She even joins the track team at the urging of her new African American friend, Z. Z. But Ashley is so traumatized by her past that she sometimes scratches herself until she bleeds and sleeps in her armoire, even though she knows she's safe now. Worse, when her stepfather is finally put on trial for hurting her, she learns that truth and justice don't always go together. Will Ashley adjust to a better life? Will she trust enough to date Josh, the cute guy on her track team who likes her? YA readers will be caught up in the heart-pounding story of a damaged girl trying to heal herself and get on with the rest of her life.

My Review: I love and hate these kinds of books.  They are always such wonderful stories with so much meaning, but they always make me horribly sad.  Hope In Patience was no exception.  I really liked this book, even though at times it was difficult to keep reading because I became so frustrated with where the story went.  I always appreciate authors who take a stance and write about difficult times in life.  Not many people are comfortable talking about such ugly issues, much less writing about them.  I don’t know whether or not this story stemmed from real life experience in some way, but even if it is completely fictitious, it still speaks for countless victims of sexual abuse.  
I have to say though, at the beginning of this novel I was sooooo confused as to what was going on.  The synopsis makes it seem like it’s a continuative narrative of what happened to her.  Not at all.  It all jumps back and forth so much that I was having a hard time keeping up.  All the talk of the trial, is not the trial I thought it was at all.  I was expecting Ashley’s SOB of a stepfather getting his comeuppance for sexually abusing her.  Wrongo.  The injustice of it all drove me insane!  I despise our judicial system now.    Beyond frustrating what some people get away with all on technicality.  Ashley’s stepfather broke her arm trying to forcibly remove her from her biological father’s care, and yet it gets written off as a misunderstanding.  Plus the fact that Ashley couldn’t fully explain why she was so terrified of her stepfather, because she couldn’t bring up events prior to the day her arm was broken.  What type of BS is that?! I mean come on!  I could probably rant and bitch all day about the unfairness of it all, but the truth is life’s not fair, no matter how much we’d all like to think that justice is served in cases like this.  It’s just horrible to face the fact that our justice system rarely delivers justice to those who deserve it. 
Rant aside, continuing with me being confused.  The synopsis describes her making friends during summer school and all these others things, but in reality it’s all already happened.  The narrative jumps back and forth a lot from Ashley as a child, to before Child Services relocated her, to summer school, etc.  It just really jumps around a lot at the beginning.  I didn’t really mind it, but it was a tad bit difficult to make 100% sense of it.  I got used to it when it mattered though.  In the end it added to the story, and I’m glad the author wrote it the way she did. 
Before I write this next part of my review, I want to clarify that I am by no means being flippant about anything that happened in this story in regards to real life.  Okay, now that I am perfectly clear on the matter… I’ve read a few sexual abuse/rape stories before and some things are always essentially the same about the story.  Where the MC has to come to terms with what happened to him/her and it’s usually all about them not blaming themselves.  I’ve always hated the victim mentality of “I must have brought this upon myself.”  I was so relieved that Ashley didn’t think this.  She knew it wasn’t her fault.  What Ashley struggles with is the fact that her mother didn’t protect her.  Even though Ashley told her mother what was happening, her mother let it continue to happen anyway.  She didn’t do anything to stop it.   She didn’t protect her; and it is because of her mother’s rejection that Ashley is unable to heal.  I cannot speak for rape victims, and I mean no disrespect, I was just glad that Ashley’s story did not take on the stereotypical version. 
There were many ways that I really enjoyed reading about Ashley’s recovery.  Her sessions with her psychologist were some of the best and most meaningful parts of the whole book.  Her psychologist pushes her and doesn’t beat around the bush.  It was really refreshing and it’s nice to know that there are people out there who are willing to stick their necks out to help others.  Ashley grows by leaps and bounds, and she begins to reach out again.  One thing I really admired about her character was the fact that she didn’t shut other people out.  She may not have told anyone besides her best friend what had happened to her, but she doesn’t close herself off to friends.  She’s not afraid of being hurt by her new friends and family, and I thought that unbelievably admirable.  If I was in her shoes, I don’t know how I would react, but her capacity for love was incredible.  I really admire her strength and perseverance and her willingness to move beyond what happened.  She was an amazing character and I loved reading about her struggle. 
Hope In Patience was a heart wrenching and powerful story.  You are literally with Ashley every step of her recovery, and feel her success every bit of the way.  It was a wonderful read, through and through. 


brandileigh2003 said...

There is a story before this one, and it probably would have cleared up confusion. I didn't know until after I had already read it. I am hosting a giveaway for the first one if you are interested.
I agree with you though, Beth tackled a tough issue with grace and finesse.
Blkosiner's Book Blog

Ky said...

O.O well that makes sense now... wow didn't know that. Ill definately check it out thanks!