Book Review: A Slow Burn by Mary E. DeMuth

Originally Posted on Gather.com in 2009because I just posted the author’s memoir (and referred to this series) earlier in the week I thought it relevant to repost.

Book Review (Sorry, I wasn’t doing Cover Reviews yet … but may add one soon if I get time!)

This Book Made Me Wake My Child In the Middle Of the Night to Hold Her!

I am what I consider a typical busy mom, and because of that it can be ‘hit or miss’ on whether my daughters get all the attention they may want at any given moment. My oldest would have me glued to her side at all times if she had her way, and for that reason I occasionally have to tell her, “Mommy is busy right now.”

In a Slow Burn, main character Emory Chance is not only grieving the death of her daughter, Daisy, she is grieving the lost opportunity of 13 years that she squandered. She recounts every time she was asked by Daisy to hug her, tell her she loved her … or to quit smoking pot. I tell my daughters I love them all the time, and I do hug them quite frequently, but I know that if I were in the same shoes as Emory I too would be regretting every lost opportunity to express it if my daughter were suddenly gone.

That’s what had me in tears, waking my oldest daughter from her dreamy slumber to hold her closely! (She didn’t seem to mind, or think me too insane anyway …) I know that if a terrible accident were to take my child tomorrow I would regret ever saying I was too busy; even if my reasons were to fix supper for everyone, rather than something more destructive like smoking pot. I would still feel the regret.

Emory Chance sees the face of her mother, reflected onto her own, when she looks in the mirror – the mother who never loved her, who either verbally abused her or neglected her entirely. Emory has become exactly the person whom she never wanted to be. Emory hates herself, and for much of this second book of this three-book series, she continues to spiral out of control – hurting almost every person who tries to comfort her.

She tries to lay the blame on Jed, her daughter Daisy’s best friend, and the last person known to see her alive other than her kidnapper. However, she knows that she is just as much at fault because she let Daisy run around while she was strung out on drugs, too absorbed in herself to protect or care for her daughter or anyone else.

I didn’t like Emory at all in the first book, Daisy Chain, and I don’t like her a lot in this book either – but I think that is the point. Emory doesn’t like what she has become either. Only at the very end do we see a glimpse of the Emory that God sees – the child-like Emory that is full of wonder and promise, the one who is so much like Daisy.

Thanks to the interceding love of God, and the love shown by those who are faithful to Him and do what He asks, even when the cause seems impossible, it appears Emory may turn her life around for good.

We’ll just have to see if it lasts in book 3!

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