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The Promise of Jesse Woods

Title:  The Promise of Jesse Woods
Author:  Chris Fabry
Pages:  432
Year:  2016
Publisher:  Tyndale
My rating is 4 stars.
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book from
The setting is 1972 in West Virginia during the Vietnam War when the main character Matt is now living within a new area learning new unwritten societal rules.  Matt’s dad is a pastor, but it is an elder who really runs not only the small congregation but the town as well.  Matt’s new friends are from outside the congregation and aren’t looked upon nicely by local town folk.  Matt has to decide who he is and who is going to be.  Matt has lots of secrets entrusted to him by a girl named Jesse and many look down upon Matt because of his friendship with Jesse and a colored boy named Dickie.
The unusual trio certainly stands against the norm of society and the local church constantly attempting to get Matt to make “wiser choices” in regards to friendships.  What comes out of the story is how a young boy learns as a young man how to live freely by his convictions.  Matt learns to be tenacious when he believes something must be done and wonders why other people sometimes act the way they do whenever Matt is with Dickie or Jesse.
As I read, I wondered what point the author was attempting to make in the novel and I am sure there are many.  I enjoyed the book as it shows how people from all backgrounds can learn to make friends by getting to know the heart of the person first.  Matt didn’t care about the social background of either of his friends, and I thought that was poignant too.  What also shows up in the story is how people in a congregation are can make mistakes.
I think Matt’s search for the truth both inside his heart and his family and friends is something that stood out to me.  He knew something was being withheld and all he wanted to know was the truth.  I won’t spoil it by telling you what Matt discovers, but I rejoiced at the freedom he found  as he learned the truth and was able to then let go and move forward in his life.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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