Hope in Patience by Beth Fehlbaum

Book Info
Hope in Patience by Beth Fehlbaum
© 2010 WestSide Books, Lodi, NJ
ISBN 978-1934813416

Plot Summary
After coping with years of sexual abuse at the hand of her step-father while her mother turned a blind eye, 15 year old Ashley Asher is finally in a stable home. Though shame kept him away since Ashley’s birth, her father, along with his wife Bev, have rescued her and are both dedicated to helping Ashley rebuild her life in her new home of Patience, Texas. With the help of her new family and exceptional therapist, Ashley struggles to grow and overcome the post-traumatic stress disorder that plagues her and causes her to spend many sleepless nights hiding in her closet, and even cut herself. Follow Ashley along her road to recovery as she learns to come to terms with her past and to love herself and find her own value as a person, but that road never comes without a few bumps. Will Ashley be strong enough to overcome?

Reader’s Annotation
At 15, Ashley Asher is finally free from a childhood of sexual abuse, but the mental and emotional scars remain. Follow her in Hope in Patience as she journeys down the rocky road to recovery.

Critical Evaluation
I found this to be a very moving and emotional story. When discussing the book in class, some criticized the writing, but knowing that Beth is writing from the heart and personal experience, I really didn’t notice or mind anything less than stellar in her writing ability. I have no personal experience with abuse or PTSD, though I do have friends that have attempted suicide or were cutters, so it was very interesting to take a peek into the mind of someone who has been through something traumatic. Such a book is definitely a must read for anyone who wants to better empathize with someone in their life who has gone through a similar situation.

Information about the Author
Beth was born in Dallas, Texas, and has one brother, who is a police detective. She and her husband were high school sweethearts, and married young. Together they have three daughters: the oldest is getting her doctorate in Sociology; the middle daughter is headed West soon to start her MFA in Publishing and/or Creative Writing, and the youngest child is studying to be a neonatal nurse.

Beth is still a teacher, currently teaching 5th grade students in a bilingual education program in East Texas. She is fortunate to love both of her jobs, as teacher and author! She loves being surrounded by the birds and wildlife that live in the woods where she lives. She has a flower garden and enjoys to edit and revise while sitting on her porch swing and watching the hummingbirds swarm to the feeders.

From the author’s website.

Realistic Fiction

Curriculum Ties
Psychology, English – Literature references

Booktalking Ideas
Ashley’s past may have been a troubled book, but the book seems to have an overall positive message. What do you feel are the overlying themes of the book?

Coach Griffin had a grudge against Bev, claiming that she took his son away from him. Do you think T.W.’s actions and behavior were her fault?

Reading Level/ Interest Age

Challenge Issues

  • Sexual abuse.
  • Self mutilation.
  • LGBT acceptance.

Defense options

  • Be aware of your library’s collection development policy.
  • Be familiar with the material in question, and the context of the questionable content.
  • Assert the principles of the ALA Library Bill of Rights, and standards of intellectual freedom.
  • Consult online book reviews, and others who have read the book.
    • While these are heavy issues, many teens are victim to these kind of experiences, and such a book can be a great tool for coping, or empathizing with a peer who is troubled.

Why Included?
Hope in Patience is included because it was assigned reading for my Libr-265 class. It is not the type of book I would typically pick up so I am glad I was exposed to it, and feel like I have grown from reading it.


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