In Rachel Coker’s debut novel, Interrupted: A Life Beyond Words, teenager Allie Everly takes care of her mother in the late 1930s. Suffering from a brain tumor, Allie’s mother’s behavior and memory become increasingly erratic.
After her mother passes away, Allie is uprooted and sent miles away from home to be adopted by a single woman named Beatrice. Resentful and bitter, Allie can’t allow herself to accept Beatrice’s love. She closes people out and barely accepts a friendship with bright bubbly classmate Charlie (a girl). When her childhood friend, Sam, shows up, Allie keeps him at arms length.
Allie’s mother had not believed in God, had even told Allie not to trust Christians. Beatrice assures her that:
Faith isn’t about superstition or leaning on others because you haven’t got any … guts. It takes guts to believe sometimes. To know that even when things don’t look like they’re going well, God is still there and he’s still guiding you. Faith like that—the faith to trust Christ enough to take the place for your sins and take control of your life. Faith like that takes all the guts in the world. And it’s worth it.
This was such a good story. I loved Sam and Beatrice’s patience and Allie’s slow dawning that life might be different, good, even. I enjoyed the lines from Emily Dickinson at the beginning of each chapter.
Most astonishing of all is that Rachel wrote this and one other book when she was a home school student. She did a marvelous job. But it doesn’t look like she has written anything since these books in 2012, unless perhaps she has started using a pen name. I hope she is still writing, or comes back to it, because she has great talent.