“And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” - I Corinthians 10: 13(b)
I have written 30 book reviews during my years of writing for the “Tri County Record.” “Pieces of Granite,” written by Brenda Anderson, to my knowledge, is the first book I would describe as beautiful! This book is the first of a series of three that deals with the same family.
Debbie and Jerry Verhoeven are financially strapped because Debbie left her job as a marriage and family therapist to stay home with their daughter, Kaitlynn, who is now 6. Debbie is pregnant with their second child.
Jerry works as a teacher in the local elementary school. Five of his students have disabilities so he has an aide to help him. Jerry very much wants to fill the open principal’s position. However, he was not hired as the principal because he is told he does such a good job with the kids who are disabled (how’s that for a human resources point of view?). This certainly doesn’t help his panic attacks.
Debbie tries to handle all the problems of the family as the peacekeeper. She is also the most spiritually strong of the family.
Ricky and Marcus are Debbie’s older brothers, who are always arguing with each other, thus there is much tension in the family.
Ricky is a business ladder climber, is successful in all he does, is single and rather wealthy. Therefore, he depends on himself and not God. He is not churched and is fond of ladies; but is not associated with any Godly woman and does not seem to want to settle down.
Debbie and Jerry have an appointment with the pediatrician, at which time they find out that their baby will be born with Downs Syndrome. Debbie is good at letting Jesus carry her burdens and knows that God doesn’t make mistakes.
When Ricky is told of Lilly’s challenges, he suggests an abortion. He is “willing to sacrifice a child’s life so the rest of them could have an easy future.” Even though Debbie was totally against abortion and she had much angst after Ricky’s suggestion, the two siblings remained close and always needed to talk and comfort one another.
Jerry wants nothing to do with the baby. For a period of time after their second daughter, Lilly (Debbie’s favorite flower), is born, Jerry doesn’t want to call her by name, hold her or feed her.
Debbie’s patience with Jerry hits her limit in doing all things around the house and being the sole caretaker of Lilly, resulting in her leaving Jerry for 32 hours and staying at a nearby hotel. Although she got drunk in the hotel, was rescued by a male friend of hers and could have been placed in a comprising position, her friend, Lee, did not take advantage of her.
How did Debbie get home? Did Jerry’s and Ricky’s attitude change about Lilly? Why is the book appropriately entitled “Pieces of Granite”? Are the members of the family reunited with each other? How does Isaiah chapter 40, verses 29-31 apply to this book? In order to answer those questions, you will have to read the book and possibly some of its sequels.
Application of the book: When Barb and I married over 52 years ago, we were both young and I know I was selfish. This book would be exceptionally good to be read by a couple who were looking forward toward getting married and if time passes before they begin a family, they may want to read it again before getting pregnant.
I’m not going to argue the pros and cons spiritually of a statement Debbie said near the end of the book, but I thought it interesting when she replaced the Biblical saying: “He (God) will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear” with how it applied to her that maybe God will let you be tempted just beyond what you can bear so that you won’t depend entirely on yourself, but depend on God.
Jeff Hall of Honey Brook contributes columns to Berks-Mont Newspapers.