Van Til Tool

Using the Van Til Perspective as the tool to discover what life means and how it ought to be lived.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Turning Trials To Triumphs

A Review of

Mary DeMuth Daisy Chain (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009)
$14.99 361 pp ISBN: 978-0-310-27836-8

Reviewer: Forrest W. Schultz

Mary DeMuth is not afraid to tackle tough issues in her stories, which she calls "relevant prose". Her second novel Wishing On Dandelions impressed me greatly not only by her sympathetic and realistic handling of the terrors of childhood sexual abuse but also by the remarkable way in which she portrayed the victim (Maranatha) as a total person, so that the story dealt with a variety of matters, not just her victimhood -- in fact, she not only is helped but she also helps others!

Demuth's third novel is ostensibly about the abduction and murder of a girl (Daisy Chance), but its far more significant subject is dysfunctional families, which provides the context of the story. As the story unfolds, there is movement from the surface level -- trying to solve the mystery of Daisy's disappearance -- to the spiritual level, but this movement is only started, not completed, because Daisy Chain is the only the first volume of of a three volume story, The Defiance Texas Trilogy. Presumably the resolution will not occur until the end of this trilogy.

Daisy's centrality in the story is due to her remarkable vitality and wisdom and love, which is shown mainly through her influence on her long time friend Jed Pepper, who is very much in need of help in knowing how to deal with his dysfunctional parents. Her influence continues after her disappearance -- in fact, in some ways she helps him more after she is gone than when she was present. How this happens is perhaps the most meaningful and moving aspect of this story. Daisy knows something which Jed needs to learn, namely how to turn to turn trials into triumphs, which is DeMuth's motto for her stories.

Each of DeMuth's first two books was a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers Book Of The Year Award. It would not surprise me if the same thing happens to the book under review here.

Laura Jenson Walker says that Daisy Chain is "reminiscent of To Kill A Mockingbird".
I myself felt that Daisy Chain's delightful dog Clementine bore an almost spooky similarity to the dog in To Dance With The White Dog. For this reason, Mary DeMuth can be compared with the best Southern fiction authors as well as the best Christian fiction authors.


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