Melvin, Jackie. Between Hurt and Healing. Mustang, OK: Tate Publishing, 2016. Print.
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I was afraid to read this book because I know the author. Really. I taught one of her sons and worked with her for a year. I know her. I was afraid that if I read the book and didn't like it, I wouldn't be able to tell her. Well, there's no need to worry about it. This is a GREAT story! I found myself not wanting to put the book down, but I made myself stop reading in order to sleep. I became attached to the characters. In fact, I didn't know if I could get through Chapter 14. That was a tear jerker. But I did get through it, and the story kept getting better.
I tried to be objective, but I couldn't help but read what I know about Jackie into this story. I wondered if I knew the characters or were they composites of people I know? But, it really isn't Jackie's autobiography. She's followed the first rule of writing--"write what you know." She's crafted a story of dedicated love (she's been married 30 years). She writes about relationships and heartbreak and living life in Texas. She even writes a little about football.
I think this story stands up as a good plot with believable characters. I think people who don't know the author will enjoy this story.
Synopsis from back of book: "Introverted Denise Staukhill just wanted a quiet life. She never dreamed she would find a man like Darren Olsen to share it with. An unexpected tragedy ends their fairy-tale romance, and Denise once again finds herself alone and devastated. Years later, the handsome head football coach from the local high school and Darren's best friend, Eric Ortellio, tries desperately to help her find peace. As their relationship starts to grow, the manipulative Coach Nick Nelson, trying to protect his secretive past, steps in to ruin both of them. Will Denise and Eric's friendship sustain the lies and manipulation that the evil Nelson has weaved? Can Denise find the strength to let go of Darren and hold on to Eric, or will her faithfulness to Darren keep Eric out of her life forever?"
Some things I marked in this book:
- Denise was going to "try to understand why so many people participate in 'selfish' acts of kindness. 'Kindness' that is done to make the giver feel better about themselves with absolutely no regard for the receiver's feelings, thoughts, or needs is not kindness at all" (Melvin 17). Ouch! I wondered how many times over my lifetime I've been guilty of this?
- She uses "ambivert" (Melvin 80)! I learned this word from Jackie. I think she was reading Susan Cain's book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking when she shared it with me because I often say that I'm an introvert who wants to be an extrovert. Ambivert is the word that describes this middle space. I actually smiled when I saw this word worked into the story.
- Schools across the state use various tutorial methods, but when I read the part of the story when Coach Eric writes a note for Colton, I could only think of Stephenville High School's Extended Day program (Melvin193).
- "This is why I love Texas. Everywhere you go across this big state, you will always run into a friend" (Melvin 231). This is so true. I've run into Texas "friends" in other states and even an another country.
- I liked oven mitt Christmas game described on page 381. I might try this with my family.
So, Jackie Melvin, I'm so proud of your story. I will be recommending it to others and hope they enjoy it as much as I did!