What She Left for Me
Bethany, 2005 (2005)
Reviewed by Melissa Parcel
ana McGuire returns home from a mission trip to Africa with exciting news for her husband. She is expecting their long awaited baby. But what she finds at the airport is not her pastor husband Rob, nor anyone from their church waiting for her. Jana arrives home to find a note, telling her Rob has taken most of their belongings and left with his secretary. He quit his job and cleaned out their bank account, and Jana must be out of the church parsonage by the end of the week. Reeling, she calls her mother Eleanor.
leanor Templeton has not had an easy life. Raised by hippie parents, she experienced many things that shattered her feelings of security. Eleanor has overcompensated by raising Jana in a strict, stand-offish way, never wanting much to do with her. Eleanor's attitude has always been one of contempt and the two have never had a real mother-daughter relationship. Yet someone else is ready and willing to be the mediator. Aunt Taffy raised Eleanor and is the perfect person to build a bridge between her and Jana. Can Taffy help to break down the walls hardened by so many years of neglect? When secrets begin to surface, can they all learn to trust that God will get them through?
his is not an easy book to read. It addresses many difficult subjects, including incest, adultery, drug use, and suicide. The answers are not clear cut and aren't handed to the reader on a platter. Some things must be worked through. Jana is shattered by the devastating news of her husband's betrayal. She's faced with an even deeper dilemma than normal; she must decide whether or not to tell him about the baby. This causes a great deal of turmoil for everyone involved. Eleanor's history is told through alternating chapters of back story, giving the reader insight into why she acts the way she does, but at the same time, Eleanor reveals bits of herself to Jana and Taffy. In the end, Eleanor finds healing and catharsis from telling her tale, not the condemnation or shame she expected.
y only disappointment with the book was that Rob's story was dealt with in an unbelievable way. It feels like a television-type drama rather than being realistic like the rest of the novel.
What She Left for Me
is an insightful and meaningful book for women, helping us realize that Christians experience the same trials as everyone else. But it also shows God as a source to help us endure.
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