Friday, April 10, 2015

"Finding Me" by Kathryn Cushman - a moving, engaging read

Cover ArtKathryn Cushman's drama explores a young woman's search for closure after her father's death reveals the life they led was a lie. Kelli grew up believing her mother and two siblings died in a fire, but papers in her father's safe point to the truth: her father took her and left the rest of their family, faking their deaths to start anew across the country. Now Kelli learns her mother and siblings are alive, completely unaware that the boating accident was a fake. Kelli travels back to Tennessee to gain some understanding of why her father left them. But her plan for glimpse from afar goes awry when she gets talked into a short-term job with her father's ex-business partner, who in turn introduces her to her own family, little realizing who she is. Can she leave the family she just found? What would it do to them if she revealed the truth?

What would you do if you found out everything you believed about your life was a lie? When Kelli travels to Tennessee to hunt down the truth, she is faced with the decision to reveal herself - a choice of emotional upheaval for everyone involved, not to mention potential financial upheaval - or to let the past lie, sparing her mother and siblings the pain and legal consequences of her father's duplicity, leaving them in peace. It really makes one wonder how one might have reacted in Kelli's place, what decisions one might have made.

The story is definitely a journey, and, like life, it is one that doesn't end just because a goal is accomplished. It goes on. Kelli's journey is not only an emotional one, working through her father's past and reconciling the family she didn't know she has, but also a spiritual journey. Where the author stops is considerably further down the path than where she started, but it's not necessarily the end. But then, some things cannot be finished until our life's journey is complete.

I liked the analogy the author makes about Joseph and how it applies to not only Kelli's father, but also Kelli herself. When you reach a crises, you can choose the easy way or the right way. The easy way so often seems better at the time, but if you take it, what will you miss out on in the long run? What consequences will everyone face because of that decision? The right way is rarely easy - Joseph spent ten years in prison because of it - but the ultimate result was thousands of people saved, reconciliation with his family, a blessed life.

For all that there is no physical danger or suspense, and for all that the romance is definitely second place to the emotional journey, this book was surprisingly hard to put down. Finding Me is an emotional, moving, engaging read.

Thank you Bethany House for providing a free book to review; I was not required to make it positive, and all opinions are my own.

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