Courage in Patience 15 July 07
Author: Beth Fehlbaum
Description: Fourteen-year-old Ashley Asher has little more than hope. Hope that her mother will finally do the right thing and leave Charlie. Hope that her abusive step-father will never be able to lay his hands on her again. Hope for a normal life. In one last desperate attempt to escape, Ashley confronts her mother with the painful details of six years of emotional, physical and sexual abuse, fully expecting her mother to pack their things and leave Charlie for good. But her mother has other plans. "We're just going to move on now," Cheryl tells Ashley. "Go to your room."
But Ashley has decided to help herself if no one else is going to. She confides in her teacher, the only adult she can trust, who convinces Ashley to report the abuse to the police. Within hours, Ashley is on her way to the small town of Patience to live with David, the father who'd left her as an infant, by all accounts a stranger. The only thing Ashley knows about David is that he had an awful temper and liked to break things when he was angry. With nothing but the clothes on her back, Ashley leaves her old life behind in search of a something she vaguely remembers from her early years - happiness.
Life with David, his wife Beverly and Bev's son Ben isn't perfect, but to Ashley it feels like home. She slowly learns to trust people and begins to explore the damage that years of abuse have done. She realizes that she can no longer live in fear, as a victim. With the help of the adults who love her, a class full of other troubled teens, and the inspiration found in Chris Crutcher's novel IRONMAN, Ashley Asher finds the courage to love, live, and finally be free to begin the long journey of healing.
This touching and inspiring story was written with teens in mind, but it is much more than a YA novel. The emotions and lessons will resonate with adults as well, and the manner in which the subject matter of sexual abuse is dealt with is equally appropriate for both a teen and an adult audience. The content is never graphic or disturbing, showing the emotional devastation caused by such abuse without going into great detail about the physical aspects of the sexual attacks. The themes of abuse, social injustice, racism, peer pressure, bullying, parental responsibility, fear, forgiveness, love, acceptance, and hope will strike a chord in the hearts of readers young and old alike.
Rights available: All
Other information: The author draws on her own experiences as a high school teacher in developing the lesson plan used by the character Beverly to teach her summer English class, one of the students being her own step-daughter Ashley. With encouragement from author Chris Crutcher, Beth Fehlbaum weaves the important messages found in IRONMAN into her own original story. As the students in Beverly's class discuss the characters and plot of IRONMAN, they draw parallels to their own lives, leading each student, Ashley included, down a path of self-discovery.
Contact: Rachel Dowen
Talcott Notch Literary Services
276 Forest Road, Milford, CT 06461