Monday, October 22, 2012

Cruel Harvest by Fran Elizabeth Grubb (book review)

I grew up in virtually the same home my whole life. We moved in when I was younger than 5 and my parents are still there. I cannot imagine being a migrant worker.

I grew up with 2 sisters. I cannot imagine being one of seven children.

I grew up knowing that my parents loved me, even when I didn't think their discipline was fair (it probably was at times and wasn't at times, same as most parents). I cannot imagine being abused, especially sexually abused.

Cruel Harvest by Fran Elizabeth Grubb is a memoir about those unimaginable things. The first two of those things are not necessarily bad things, although not being allowed to go to school as a migrant worker would have been very hard on me (as it was on the author).

In Cruel Harvest, Grubb describes her life of fear. Her father was a cruel, cruel man who reigned over his family with an iron fist of abuse, a brick of sexual abuse, and the fear those things brought out. They traveled from farm to farm as migrant workers, squatting in houses or tents or their rattle-trap car for days or weeks.

I cannot imagine the grace of the Lord on this woman who endured so much - losing her siblings one by one to adoption, selling, death, or finally running away. You would think someone who endured such awful things as a child would be hardened and hard to love or repeat the cycle. But Mrs. Grubb seems to be loving, hopeful, and a recovering alcoholic.

Her book is so much more than I can possibly describe in this review. It's breath-taking, but not in a beautiful way (although her writing is beautiful). It's heart-wrenching, but not in a romantic way. It's awesome, but not in a good way. You can tell the Lord looked out for this woman, prompting her as a young girl to Himself. Leading her to pray to him through thick and thin (and thinner).

I loved reading about when her daddy got sent to prison and the wonderful (if not scary at first) life she had at an orphanage. I cheered when her sisters got away from their father. I cried to my depths when he remarried after their mama got away, especially hard for the little girl who came to endure what Fran and her siblings already did. My heart sunk when she (tastefully) describes the illegal, unimaginable, horrifying sexual abuse at the hand of her father. I cried again as she tells of trying to connect with her family years later.

Such a wonderful book. Pick up a copy. Weep and cheer along with me.

Disclaimer: I received this book through the Book Sneeze program. In order to write an honest review, I did receive this book for free.

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