Stories That Bind Us

Stories that bind usAuthor: Susie Finkbeiner

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: June 2, 2020

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Set in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, this story could just as easily be told today!

When Betty married her high school sweetheart, Norman Sweet, she had dreams of a long life together.  But after 20 years of marriage, her husband felt ill one afternoon and quickly passed due to a heart attack.  They’d had a good marriage filled with love and lots of bakery treats from the Sweet Family Bakery that they helped run.  But she quickly fell into depression and if not for her sister-in-law, she might have stayed there.  Then one day she had a surprise visitor at her door, her estranged sister and her five-year-old son.  Betty forges a bond with her biracial nephew and learns the ugly truth about the world as well as herself.  She reflects upon stories that her mother told her growing up that begin to bind their family’s relationships even tighter.

Susie Finkbeiner is a master at storytelling.  Her books can bring historical events into a picture that allow readers to see what happened in a new light.  From the dust bowl to the Vietnam War to the Civil Rights movement, she doesn’t capture the high points of the era and press on.  What she captures is so much more beautiful and crucial to our understanding of the times.  She captures everyday life of a normal person and family.

Betty is this person.  An average white female living in Michigan.  She’s far from the throes of the racially charged south and she sees the news, but largely ignores it as it does not directly affect her.  But when she meets her nephew Hugo, that begins to change.  She never sees him as anything more than a little boy, which is all that he is.  And her family only sees that as well.  But other people in the town do see him as different and she quickly realizes how ugly people can be.  I hope that readers are able to take this book to heart and begin to understand the importance of true relationships with one other.  As the stories Betty shares throughout the book bind her and Hugo, so do they bind us as readers!

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

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