What I love most about this cover is that I learned that this is a real photo of the author, taken by her biological father – whose love she has ached for since his death when she was in fifth grade – and not just a photo of another child posed to be representative (not that there is anything wrong with that!)
I additionally found out that there had been another little girl standing next to her in the original photo which has been removed impressively by the cover artist – no traces left behind that I can see.
Adding the blue tints to the sepia-toned photo reminded me strikingly of the filmography of “Schindlar’s List”. I haven’t seen that movie in years, but I am still haunted by what the director chose to highlight with color in an otherwise black and white film. The image of the colorful coat on the body of the little Jewish girl at the death camp is one I will never forget …
I think this similarity in photo treatment alone was a visual clue of the direction Mary’s memoir would take when I opened it to read. The smiling little girl appearing on both covers is surrounded by muted blues, hinting of the sadness to be survived in the pages ahead. The only design element I question is the use of the thin blue rectangle on both the front and back cover as a sort of frame. I think the overall cover design is strong without it on either the back or front cover and it could have been left off and the design still would have felt complete. A minor detail though in the grand scheme of things.
I also like the chosen font for the title, and the fact that it is used throughout the book in the chapter headings. The font is readable, yet irregular enough to carry the feeling that the author hand-wrote it onto the cover. A nice touch for such a personal memoir.
I have read two of Mary’s fiction novels prior to reading this memoir – “Daisy Chain” and “A Slow Burn,” from the Defiance Texas Trilogy. While reading those novels I had surmised that Mary had either lived through some harsh experiences herself, or closely interviewed people who had … because she wrote with such strikingly real first-person emotional detail about tough topics such as: physical and emotional abuse, drug addiction, parental neglect, and spiritual longing. After reading this memoir I know that a good portion of that realism comes from the fact that Mary lived it herself.
In many ways I found it a relief to know that children who grow up with many of those things in their lives can still find their way to God, and make their way out of the typically repeat cycle of abuse and or drugs. However, it is painfully obvious that Mary is aware that the scars of her past still haunt her, the abuse at age 5 still affects her family life, and her self-image today.
There is such refreshing honesty in this memoir. This is a book that I hope will find its way into the hands of anyone who is hurting – who needs to know that God is with them during the worst of times – when they feel unloved, unwanted or even abused. Even if we haven’t lived through the exact circumstances that Mary has, this book encourages every reader to look back on their life and see where God has revealed his presence during their own ‘thin places’ – where heaven and the physical world collide.
* This book was provided to me by the author to review. If you have a title that has been released in the last 12 months and would like a book & cover review – please e-mail me.