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Finding Father Paperback – June 17, 2014
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About the Author
Susan Foy grew up in Bear, Delaware, the middle of five children and one of a set of identical twins. She started writing stories at the age of nine, and always enjoyed using her imagination to create new characters and situations. She graduated from the University of Delaware with a degree in English literature. Susan started writing novels in her mid-thirties at the encouragement of her twin sister, who said, "Write something for me, and I'll read it." Her books, both historical and contemporary, center on women's relationships and always contain a romance at some point in the story, although the stories are not all about romance. She hopes her readers will find her stories entertaining and uplifting. Susan and her husband Jim have raised four children and still live in Bear. They are active in their local church and enjoy vacations and holidays with Susan's large extended family.
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Top customer reviews
"Kendra kissed the top of [her daughter's] head and stroked the tangled dark curls, so different from her own straight, lank hair. Elizabeth was her consolation for everything she had missed out on: college, her piano career, her carefree youth. Surely if she had waited twenty years, she couldn't have produced a more beautiful child. Even strangers stopped to admire Elizabeth. She knew that her daughter looked nothing like herself or her own relatives, and was secretly grateful no one but herself knew where Elizabeth's beauty came from.
It was the only thing Elizabeth had received, or would ever receive, from her father."
How important are fathers?
In today's world, fathers can seem outmoded and optional. Women are able to acquire children via sperm donation, in vitro fertilization, and surrogacy. Some women even choose to have no man in the picture at all. A high divorce rate and the practice of serial monogamy-- with or without marriage--result in families with multiple step-fathers or men who come into a child's life temporarily as "mom's boyfriend" or "uncle." A woman may abort her unborn child at any time and that same child's father has no legal right to intervene.
Yet Christians call God "Our Father." And sociological research suggests that children who grow up with a negative father figure or none at all have difficulty relating to the idea of a good God as "Father". Outside of secularist circles, we continue to value fatherhood, both human and divine.
The title of Susan Correll Foy's debut novel, Finding Father, is both a divine pun and a clue to the theme of this appealing look at contemporary life. Its protagonist, single mother Kendra, has little choice in the fathers in her life. Her three-year-old daughter Elizabeth's father is "a scumbag" who does not even know that a daughter was born of his single appalling sexual encounter with Kendra. Her own beloved father has died, leaving her mother bitter towards their parish priest and ending their family's involvement with the church. Kendra, a single teenager, has had only her mom to help her raise Elizabeth. But her mother is remarrying and moving away. Kendra is forced to sell her piano - a treasured memento of her father --, move out of her childhood home, and find a new living situation in order to support Elizabeth on her modest salary.
What's a single mother to do when her support system falls away?
Full disclosure: I generally read and review genre novels - mystery, SF, horror, etc. I like a little fanciful zing in my stories. And the elements of Kendra's story are not extraordinary: she meets no vampires, zombies, detectives, spacemen or warriors on her journey. She does not stumble upon a murder or wander into an alternate universe. No, Kendra's adventures are more mundane and yet her everyday dilemmas kept me turning the pages. Will her life, derailed by a disastrous loss of innocence and its ensuing pregnancy, ever get back on track? Will she always feel alone and friendless, with her back against the wall and no time for love or even fun? Will Elizabeth be the only joy in her life?
The fact that the ordinary conundrums of life kept me engrossed was due to the skill with which Foy brought both the texture of Kendra's life, and the personalities of the people she encounters, to life. Of particular interest to me, a Catholic, was the convincing portrayal of evangelical Protestant faith and Christian community. Catholicism is a highly liturgical religion, where Holy Eucharist (Communion) is the apex of worship. In the evangelical community described in Finding Father, communion is part of worship but takes a lesser place to breaking open Scripture and to fellowship. Catholic culture since the Reformation has battled the temptation to consider church a delivery system for the sacramental life of grace, with a primacy assigned to individual mystical union with the Lord. The Reform churches on the other hand seem to have cultivated the development of discipleship and ecclesiastic fellowship into a high and beautiful distinction.
By Providence or coincidence (take your pick), Kendra falls into a lively circle of young adults from two evangelical Christian churches, and her life opens up to possibilities she had never considered. Foy does not idealize these "church youth" but gives them faults and weaknesses like any group of young adults. Gossip, fear, misunderstandings, and selfish motivations are faults that plague any group I have ever been part of, secular or religious. The author does not hesitate to include this evidence of the difficulty of imitating Christ. Yet she also shows what a life lived in recognition of God's love and obedience to His love has to offer 21st century moderns. In particular, in the very difficult and important matter of the "reproductive choices" offered by our society some 50+ years after the "sexual revolution", Foy shows the full range of actions and consequences open to today's young people in expressing their sexuality. She does this without ever falling into either a Manichean distaste for the body or a Pelagian profligacy of our bodily freedom in Christ.
In short, this is an excellent work of Christian fiction - realistic, truthful, depicting the world as it exists according to the classic Christian understanding of the reality of sin and redemption. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to Susan Correll Foy's next one.
It's not bad.
The author did a good job of portraying authentically Christian characters (a decent variety of them, NOT making them all impossibly good and sugar-sweet) without getting all preachy. The instances where it came up made sense in the flow of the story. I was a little irritated by the sly jabs at Catholicism, but more of the focus was on the heroine finding a path that worked for her.
I liked that she didn't gloss over the bad parts, and that she showed how the hero and heroine dealt with the issue in their past in their own ways. The hero got a little too righteous for my taste, and I felt like he was forgiven a bit too easily. But it worked for the characters. I would have liked some more address to what the hero did in the past, because I feel like it was a little worse than she portrayed.
I also felt like it cut off at a point where there definitely could have been more story.
A nice clean read, in my opinion.
Most recent customer reviews
I would recommend this book to non Christian people as it shows God's love and forgiveness.
Very good author.