Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Daisy Chain by Mary DeMuth - MY REVIEW

“Mama’s notes faded as fast as cut flowers.” (p. 352)

Jed Pepper is a fourteen-year-old young man who lives in a family where love, acceptance and happiness are as fragile and fleeting as the notes of apology that his mother writes upon the backs of flower petals she leaves for him to find. His father is the local pastor, his mother the submissive wife, his sister, like Jed is floundering to survive. For beneath the surface of this family serenity there is wickedness and abuse as lethal as any poison known to man. The only antidote Jed has against the poison is Daisy – and she is missing.

Daisy Chain has been my introduction to Mary Demuth’s writing, and I have to say it is painfully beautiful. Her prose is vivid and almost lyrical…leaving images in your heart and soul that linger long after you put the book down. This particular story was emotionally difficult to read because of the severity of the family’s dysfunction. What made it even sadder to me was that they were all coping with a child being kidnapped from among their small, quiet town, and there was no hope, no comfort, no support of any kind to be found for any of them. They lived each moment just trying to survive the demon that lived among them – the demon they had to call husband and father. I don’t know when I’ve ever so thoroughly despised a fictional character more than I did Hap Pepper.

However, Demuth introduces some very unlikely sources of hope into the lives of this bleak family, and by the end of the story I think most of them had found that ray of hope and were clinging tenaciously to its fragile strength. I loved the word image that Muriel shares with Hixon on page 353; “…Muriel told me our life is like a winding path with a deep ditch on either side…One ditch is our full-fisted rebellion. The other is our response to someone else’s rebellion. She told me, ‘The Devil couldn’t care less which ditch we fall into, he just wants us off the road.”

I think Muriel had a clearer understanding of the dysfunctional Pepper family than anyone, and through her often odd behavior, she wound up offering truth and hope into a very dark situation. She was my hero.

Daisy Chain is not an easy book to read. However, the truth written upon its pages is real. Christ does paint light in the midst of our darkest moments, and we have to learn to cling to that light and stay on the road headed toward His grace and mercy. Pick up your copy today!


Mary DeMuth said...

Thank you for reading the book and offering such a thorough review. I really appreciate it.

Scrambled Dregs said...

Great review, Kim. Very thoughtful and poetic. : )