Every Secret Thing

Although melancholy for the most part, this novel by Ann Tatlock was poignant. A mystery in the “I wonder why?” sense as opposed to the “Whodunit?” sense. I have chosen not to pick it apart here. I’ll simply include a few of those poignant passages:

But beneath all that was the ever present sense of dread. It was at times a subtle fear and alternately a gripping panic, and it was rooted in this one belief: School was a testing ground, and it was here that my worth as a person would be determined. If I did not do well at school, I would not do well at life, and then what would become of me?

You see, every time final exams came around…I knew all this wasn’t done simply to find out if I could diagram a sentence or work through an algebraic equation. I knew the real question at the heart of the matter was this: Are you good enough? [49-50]

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That was the instant when life as I knew it came to an end. The stars seemed to tumble right out of the sky and my childhood shattered like glass, and something inside of me crept off on wounded feet to a small dark place, a crevice sealed over like a tomb. [146]

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I wanted to put her into the hands of a loving God, but as I tried to gather up my thoughts and fashion them into a prayer, I discovered that the words were rusted and wouldn’t break apart into meaningful sentences. [301]

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And then Satchel Queen came and put her arms around both of us and, without a word, drew us into a place as tender as mercy and as clean as grace. [357]

Note: This book, presented as contemporary Christian fiction, addresses some serious issues (alcoholism, suicide, drug abuse). Ann Tatlock writes with understanding of the postmodern culture. In my conservative opinion, Every Secret Thing could be an appropriate read for a teenager IF an adult were available to travel along through those serious issues.

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