Advance reviews of As the Sycamore Grows:
This from Lundy Bancroft, an authority on abuse and especially on abusive men:
"Rarely has a story of a woman's courageous fight for freedom been told in such an eloquent and moving way. And, even more unusual, we get an open view into the twisted mentality of a vicious man who was able, like so many abusers, to convince the outside world that he was normal. A hard book to put down."
Lundy Bancroft, author of "Why Does He Do That?" and co-author of "Should I Stay or Should I Go"
From Jedwin Smith, twice-nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for investigative rporter; author of Our Brother's Keepers, Reader's Digest Book of the Year, and Fatal Treasure, a nonfiction soon-t0-be a movie.
This story grabs hold of your heart and squeezes it dry. It is a tale so touching, so emotionally overwhelming, women will cringe and thank God they never had to walk in Ginger’s shoes, and men will wish they could have met Ginger’s husband in a dark alley. I applaud author Jennie Helderman’s gift for writing, I marvel at Ginger’s courage for sharing it.
From a police officer:
Jennie Helderman's thoroughly documented book proves the cycle of domestic violence can be broken, hope exits for the batterer and the abused, and the written word has the power to heal. May the life-affirming message in as the Sycamore grows find its way to the wounded people searching for answers caused by mental and physical assaults perpetrated against them or within their families.
L.D. Hesse #979
Dekalb County Police Department
Dekalb County, Georgia
From the executive director of Voices for Alabama's Children:
"Couldn't put it down...had to know what happened to Ginger, but didn't want it to end. Now can't get it out of my mind...Performs a service yet good enough to take to the beach."
- Sycamore bark
"With the careful eye of a journalist and the committed heart of a creative writer, Helderman provides witness to the kind of domestic violence and its after-effects that too many women suffer without the ability to express its tragedy. As the Sycamore Grows becomes a fully realized and powerful account as Helderman twines her voice with that of Ginger, an abuse survivor. Such a story demands that it be told loud and clear, which is just what Helderman does."
Sue William Silverman: Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You and Fearless Confessions: A Writer’s Guide to Memoir.
"I finished your book last night. Wow -- this is a story that will stick with me... I was right there, watching their lives unfold...chilling yet heartwarming." From the editor of a national magazine.
“As the Sycamore Grows” is the true story of immense courage. This story reveals the courage of a woman to live the life facing terror and heartbreak; also the courage of author Jennie Helderman to recount this dramatic and heart-wrenching narrative from both sides.
Complete with court documents, interviews from Ginger, and incredibly from husband Mike, this story reveals the words of the man who kept his wife and children secluded in a primitive mountain cabin, living in fear of his temper and the gun strapped at his side. This work is a peek not only into the lives of Ginger and Mike, but a compassionate chronicle of two families mired in patterns of dysfunction.
This straightforward account allows the reader to reach his or her own conclusions as to the cause and perpetuation of abuse: troubled family histories, religious fanaticism, emotional instability, or some combination of all three. More than anything this book is a testimony to other women not only of the warning signs of abuse, but also the deep power of the human spirit to overcome and escape. It is a great triumph of hope and evidence of Ginger’s resilience to remake her life, overcome her past, and create a future for herself and her sons. You won’t be able to put this unique book down, even if it means finishing it at 4am in the morning…like I did.
Susannah Bales, bookseller at Eagle Eye Book Store, Decatur, GA