Friends! Grab as many friends as you can find and dash over to Middletown United Methodist Church next Monday, March 27th from 6:30-8:00 p.m.
The girls at Branches Book Club will be discussing a beautifully written novel by Chris Fabry called The Promise of Jesse Woods and you do not want to miss a minute of it!
Because there’s a mouth-watering church picnic scene in the story, we decided we’ll be having our own potluck supper Monday night. Please bring a side dish to share if time allows. The main course and drinks will be provided. Just one more incentive (read “bribe” and smile) to get you and your friends coming to Book Club!
One more teaser: Chris has graciously sent us a twenty plus minute personal message about this book, so you won’t want to miss him either!
Every single book I’ve read of Chris’ I declare it to be my favorite, and The Promise of Jesse Woods is no exception. What’s fun about Chris’ writing is my sweet Hubster, a/k/a John, enjoys Chris’ books too and we have a blast discussing them. This book received the 2017 Christianity Today Book Award Merit in the fiction category.
Some of his other books have won the coveted Christy Award (Dogwood 2009, Almost Heaven 2011 and Not in the Heart 2013) and the Christian Book Award (also Almost Heaven 2011). Click on his website and check out all the other books Chris has written: fiction and non-fiction. And don’t miss his daily radio show, Chris Fabry Live on Moody Radio. (www.moodyradio.org )
One of many endorsers of this book happens to be author Charles Martin. Many of you know how much I like his writing and you’re in his camp as well. Charles says Chris’ book is “a tender coming-of-age story of first love, innocence lost, and the soul-freeing power of truth.”
Before we get into a few glimpses of this novel, you guys out there may be interested in at least two of Chris’ non-fiction books. My guess is you had no idea he wrote these very cool, true stories:
Coming Back Stronger—Unleashing the Hidden Power of Adversity by Drew Brees with Chris Fabry
The Winners Manual—for the Game of Life by Jim Tressel with Chris Fabry
(Fun sidebar: John and I happen to have a copy of this book, signed by Tressel. This came about when our dear friend Joe Daniels was Coach Tressel’s Quarterback Coach. Like Tuesdays with Morrie, Jim Tressel sat at Joe Daniels’ bedside every single Tuesday while he battled cancer. He gave a most poignant speech at Joe’s funeral.)
Back to our book: You’ll love the characters in The Promise of Jesse Woods and feel as if you’re riding bikes down the roads of Dogwood, West Virginia with them. You’ll sympathize with Matt whose extra pounds he’s packin’ bring him relentless teasing.
He and his family have moved to Dogwood for his Dad to be the town’s new preacher. This makes Matt not only the new kid in town, but the Preacher’s Kid, and we all know what comes with that…
Matt quickly makes two new friends, both dragging a wagon full of baggage. Matt’s new friend Dickie, is biracial, which brings that whole component with the story’s setting in 1972, while his other friend in the trio happens to be a girl named, Jesse Woods. She becomes Matt’s first love which complicates matters just a tad.
In the book, Chris flips back and forth from 1984 to 1972, however you figure this out easily and read that much faster, trying to figure out where the plot will take you next. One of the bad guys in the book will make you so mad because of how he affects so many, Matt’s Father, included. His name even sounds like a dark cloud hovers over it: Basil Blackwood.
At one point in the story, Matt wonders when his Father may grow a backbone no thanks to the very wicked Mr. Blackwood. Seems Mr. Blackwood minds the church’s business more than his own.
When Matt moves away to Chicago, he loses touch with these friends who’d been inseparable. He says, “After high school I had ripped the rearview off my life.”
It’s back in Chicago where Matt gets a blast-from-the-past phone call from Dickie. They really needed to patch things up, but the more pressing matter comes with Dickie’s announcement that their beloved Jesse is getting married in a few days. Oh my…
Will Matt return to Dogwood? And if he does, will he stop the wedding? Will Jesse’s fiancée go after Matt? Ah, my friend, you must read the book to find out!
Before we close, I’ll share just one of many beautiful quotes I’ve highlighted and dog-eared. Matt is talking with his father who says, “Life is never easy…it may seem like it on the surface, but there’s a struggle to it all. When Jesus told the disciples to go across the Sea of Galilee, they got in the boat and obeyed. And that was when one of the biggest storms blew up. So obeying God’s will can sometimes get you into trouble. But it’s better to follow him into a storm than to stay on the shore alone.”
One thing I always hunt for in a book is the meaning of its’ title. You will flat fall out of your chair when you reach the meaning of The Promise of Jesse Woods. I never saw it comin’…
Run, don’t walk, to your nearest book story and grab this book. Even if you don’t finish it before Monday, you’ll still enjoy and be blessed by our lively discussion, fun fellowship and delicious food.
We’ll look forward to seeing you Monday night, March 27th at 6:30!
‘Til next time!