Monday, June 28, 2010

Review- The Manual by Sherryle Kiser Jackson

If my son got suspended for sticking his hand up a girl's pants and I was called in front of a panel of his teachers to hear about it, I'd probably want the floor to open up and swallow me whole.

But single mom Deidre Collins handles the situation with a lot of prayer and remarkable restraint. This is one reason she makes such a sympathetic character. Her son, DeAndre, has lost his ever lovin' mind and unfortunately, things only go downhill from there.

It's clear DeAndre needs a male role model in his life. Instead of accepting the help of the smarmy brother at her church willing to 'stand in the gap', Deidre reluctantly turns to her baby's daddy, and the only man she's ever loved, Andre Hicks.

But when old sparks start to fly, Deidre is tempted to fall into familiar patterns of sin. Will God give her the strength to live out her faith?

I have a soft spot for books that reunite high school sweethearts.

You never fall as hard or as fast you do when you're a teenager. Author Sherryle Jackson illustrates this perfectly by giving us glimpses of DeAndre's first crush. His experience mirrors his parents' young love (with a radically different outcome). And his storyline makes a nice contrast to the mature relationship that grows between Deidre and Andre by the end of the book.

Jackson also does a great job with the minor characters in this novel, especially Renita- the workplace slacker who takes more than her share of personal time. Don't we all know somebody like that?

I had a couple of small quibbles with this story. I found the names of the main characters (Deidre, DeAndre, and Andre- nicknamed Dre) easy to mix up because they were so similar. Also, I caught a couple of editing mistakes (a missing quotation mark or question mark here and there).

But overall, it was a fun, easy read with great voice and characterization. It had just enough of an edge to satisfy this edgy inspy fan, and I finished resolved to add more urban Christian fiction to my diet.

Want more information? Here's the back cover blurb:

"Blessed are the children, for they shall inherit the earth."

Need a manual on raising children and having healthy relationships? Refer to the Bible. That's what Deidre Collins' inner spirit is telling her to do now that Andre, her son's father, is back in town after deserting them eight years ago.

At fourteen years old, her son, DeAndre, is struggling with his own issues- peer pressure, problems at school, and figuring out how to navigate his first crush.

When DeAndre gets suspended from school for ten days, Andre sees it as the perfect opportunity to get to know his son- and to get closer to Deidre. Can this couple overcome the past for the sake of their son's future?

My rating:

It's giveaway time

I received a free review copy of this novel signed by the author and I'm giving it away to one lucky reader. There are no hoops here, folks. Just leave a comment (include your email address if it's not in your profile). I'll pick a winner Wednesday night. Open to US residents only.

Coming Attractions:
Tune in Wednesday for guest blogger and debut author Amanda Forester!


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