Hope in Patience by Beth Fehlbaum

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Hope in Patience by Beth Fehlbaum ISBN: 978-1934813416, WestSide Books; First Edition edition (October 27, 2010)

Plot Summary:

Hope in Patience relates the story of Ashley Asher, a teen who has been molested by her stepfather since the age of eight. After her stepfather rapes her, Child Protective Services send her to live with her estranged father. Her father and stepmother are very supportive, but Ashley has to learn to come to terms with what was done to her and the fact that her mother never tried to stop what was happening and instead insists that Ashley is a liar. Through help from her therapist and the support of those around her, Ashley makes a start a learning to deal with her post traumatic stress and her mother’s lack of love.

Critical Evaluation: 

The theme of hope is prevalent throughout this book. This book does little to sugar coat the reality of what sexual abuse victims face. After years of abuse, Charlie is not punished by the justice system and even manages to break Ashley’s arm after she is sent to the custody of her father. The nature of a sexual crime makes it difficult to prosecute as it is often a case of she said he said. The most that Ashley is offered is a chance to escape and start her life over again. Ashley faces an uphill battle in this department, as she must deal with a lifetime of emotional scars. Ashley must deal with feelings of worthlessness and anger over her mother’s indifference, but at the end of the novel, the reader is left feeling that there is hope for Ashley. This book is drawn from the experiences of the author, and offers a realism that some may find hard to take but ultimately provides insight into what is a reality for some teens.

Information about the author:

In addition to writing Young Adult Contemporary Fiction, Beth Fehlbaum is an  experienced English teacher who frequently draws on her experience as an educator to write her books. She has a B.A. in English, Minor in Secondary Education, and an M.Ed. in Reading. 

Beth is the author of the forthcoming Big Fat Disaster (Merit Press/F+W Media, March 2014); Courage in Patience(Kunati Books, 2008); and Hope in Patience (WestSide Books, 2010). Hope in Patience was named a 2011 YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers. Truth in Patience, which rounds out The Patience Trilogy, is as yet unpublished.

Beth has a following in the young adult literature world and also among survivors of sexual abuse because of her work with victims’ advocacy groups. She has been the keynote speaker at the National Crime Victims’ Week Commemoration Ceremony at the Hall of State in Dallas, Texas and a presenter for Greater Texas Community Partners, where she addressed a group of social workers and foster children on the subject of “Hope”. 

Beth is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, like Ashley in The Patience Trilogy, and the day-to-day manager of an eating disorder much like Colby’s in Big Fat Disaster. These life experiences give her a unique perspective, and she writes her characters’ stories in a way meant to inspire hope

Beth lives with her family in the woods of East Texas. 

Reader’s Annotation:

After years of sexual abuse by her stepfather, Ashley is sent to live with her estranged father in Patience, Texas. 

Genre:

Realistic Fiction

Curriculum Ties:

N/A

Booktalking Ideas:

This book is about coming to terms with the past.

Reading Level/Interest Age:

Grades 8 and up

Challenge Issues:

Language, sexual abuse.

I would make sure that all material was purchased in accordance with my library’s collection development policy and make sure to keep a file containing positive reviews for books that I thought might be challenged. In the event of a challenge, I would actively listen to the parent’s concern and ask if they had read the book. I would then explain why the book had been added to the collection and provide them with the reviews and a copy of the collection development policy. I would affirm that they are within their rights to limit what their children read, but that other parents also have the right to determine what their children can read. If all else failed, I would provide the parent with a reconsideration form.

Reasons for inclusion:

This book was required reading for LIBR 265

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