Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Book Review: Finding Grace

Finding Grace
by Laura H. Pearl
Waterford, MI: Bezalel Books, 2012

“Finding Grace” by Laura H. Pearl  is a Catholic coming-of-age novel set in the 1970s. Grace Kelly shares a name with the famous princess, but little else. She’s a plain, awkward girl entering her teen years, struggling to find her place in the world as she grows up in Plattsburgh, New York. She has devout Catholic parents, a house full of older brothers, and a best friend, Irene, who possesses all the beauty and grace she lacks. 

What Grace does possess is the desire to become a saint. At her father’s urging, she begins to read lives of the saints and tries to fashion her life after them. Admittedly, this isn’t always easy. She is starting high school and becomes the favorite target of Sister Immaculata, the much-feared Latin teacher. She also becomes friends with two young men – Jimmy Sullivan and Tom Buckley, one who she dreams of being with, and one who dreams of being with her.

The novel follows Grace and her friends from 1972 – 1980, when she is studying to be a teacher in college. This was a turbulent decade when many of the world’s morals were changing. Grace struggles to keep her virtue and her resolve to be a saint. Her friends struggle with their choices as well.

Pearl depicts the era well, especially the changes wrought by Roe v. Wade. Two characters in the novels become pregnant and make very different choices. Pearl explores what those choices meant to the character’s future lives.

“Finding Grace” is a long book and not a quick read, but it is worth spending time with and following Grace as she grows into a beautiful young woman. 


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