Author: Richard M Siddoway
The following review was contributed by: Molly Martin: CLICK TO VIEW Molly Martin's Reviews
The narrative opens with a mother shouting at her six-year-old. Jennica and her four-year-old brother are engaged in the usual tussle found between youngsters. In a home where the refrigerator holds only a butter dish, half empty gallon bottle of milk, jar of mustard and a six pack of beer, supper is soup ladled into three chipped mismatched bowls served with a slice of bread and to be washed down with water, Jennica is on a slide to nowhere fast. Cheating on tests in fourth grade is followed by secreting a lost wallet left behind at the café where she works as a sixteen-year-old. Jenn compounds her responsibility by lying about finding the billfold. The money from the wallet is added to Jennica’s secret stash. The desperate girl is determined to leave the horrible home life she continues to endure. From this beginning Jennica’s life roils forward toward certain downfall until she discovers a group of people and a life she had never known existed before. Two women LDS missionaries introduce themselves and Jennica begins to realize there is something more to life than that she has always known.
Writer Siddoway has formulated a compelling read on the pages of this 242 page novel. Siddoway has a commanding mastery of language, creates believable characters and sets down credible settings and scenarios.
An Honest Heart aptly captures the core of what ails a good bit of our society. The writer composes an acutely focused account with an eye to particulars, and an understanding of the wretchedness foisted onto children when parents do not or cannot provide the refuge, security and guidance so needed for children during the formative years. Characters are not always likeable, however they are well developed, dialog is absorbing, gritty at times, and compelling. The blunders, misinterpretation and mistakes made by Jennica as she searches for balance in her life are ones most of us face at one time or another. Trust, understanding and acceptance are all part of Jennica’s redemption as she comes to understand that life does not always hand us an easy way or gentle dealings. As Jennica learns to deal with problems in a calm, God led manner, her life becomes more endurable and gratifying.
While written with a distinct Mormon flavor for the Mormon reading audience An Honest Heart will interest all readers who enjoy well written tales filled with robust motivation, breach of faith, propensity and a ticklish story line. An Honest Heart is an excellent choice for the home library, the personal reading shelf and homeschool high school curriculum.