(Edited to add: To read the first chapter of Beth Fehlbaum's wonderful book, Courage in Patience, check out her blog at Courage in Patience.)
Courage in Patience: A Story of Hope for Those Who Have Endured Abuse by Beth Fehlbaum
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Kunati Inc.
Although this book is a story about surviving sexual abuse and the traumatic outcomes, there is more to this book than meets the eye. It is a story of healing and self-acceptance and empathy in a sometimes cruel world. I like how Fehlbaum used the town of Patience, Texas as an inspirational theme for the title of the book. We truly learn how one character courageously persevered in Patience.
14-year-old Ashley Asher endured six years of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse from her stepfather before having the courage to confide to her mother about this dark secret. But instead of loving support, her mother turns her back on Ashley, and chooses not to believe what is happening right before her eyes. When Ashley then confides in a teacher, the teacher arranges to have the traumatized girl sent her to live with her estranged biological father.
Surprisingly, although the father is full of guilt for abandoning Ashley as a child, it is the stepmother who accepts Ashley with open arms and tries to ease her transition into a new family. I like the way Fehlbaum uses the stepmother's summer English class as a template for healing. Using Chris Crutcher's book, IRONMAN, emotional issues like fear, racism, bullying, censorship and intolerance are discussed and dealt with in present day terms.
This book is a fast-paced read and I literally devoured each page. Fearing this would be another one of the "abuse books" dealing with the physical implications of abuse, I was surprised and delighted when Fehlbaum's focus was more on the emotional turmoil of abuse. She has given us believable characters and addressed them in a thoughtful caring manner.
I highly recommend this book, not only to victims of abuse or even family and friends of abuse victims, but to anyone wanting to read an inspirational story of survival and tenacity.
Beth Fehlbaum, an experienced English teacher, drew on her experiences as a teacher and as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse to craft the fictional story of a teen girl's first foray into recovery from sexual abuse. Visit her official website @ Beth Fehlbaum