"This story is a heart breaking one and one that has been well written." #Kindle #BookReview

Small as a Mustard Seed

by Shelli Johnson

Genre: Historical

Book Synopsis

As a child in 1960′s rural Ohio, Ann Marie Adler finds herself caught between her father, Frank, a veteran who survived the war in Korea but with devastating post-traumatic stress, and her mother, Adele, who is blindsided by the mental illness that accompanied him home. In a series of escalating dangerous episodes, Frank confuses reality with soul-searing memories, believing he’s still a soldier fighting for his life in battle-torn Korea. During the delusions, Ann Marie and her younger sister, Jolene, become the enemy, which leaves them fearing for their lives. Unable to fully protect her daughters, Adele scrambles to keep order while her husband’s threatening and unpredictable outbursts slowly tear the family apart.

Bec's Rating

Bec's Review

This book deals with the issue of growing up in a family where mental illness is prevalent. Beginning in the 60s around the time of the Vietnam war it chronicles the story of Ann Marie, growing up with a father who would not only not recognise his daughters at time, but would mistake them for the enemy he once fought in Korea, or for fellow soldiers who needed punishing. While Ann Marie escapes much of the brunt of this, her sister Jolene is often forced to suffer as a result of their father’s illness.

This book is told in first person perspective from the point of Ann Marie. As such you really feel for her in the story, and it was her I related to the most. I found myself wishing that somehow the girls would be saved, that they would be taken away from the situation. I was able to really feel for the character, even if at times I did not have a clear idea of her age (as the story chronicles her growing up you need to pay attention to the dates at the start of each chapter to understand what age Marie and Jolene are at). The characters are well told, each with their flaws and each which make you feel for them, wishing that somehow the father would get better and the problems all go away.

I’m not ashamed to admit that there is one particularly heart breaking scene that had me close to tears in this book. This book is an emotional one and one that will have you feeling along with Ann Marie. There are highs but mostly there are a lot of lows as you read about how hard it was for Ann Marie to grow up in a house where she couldn’t be sure her father was seeing her or flashing back to a war time memory and then, later, when her father seemed to ignore her completely.

This story is a heart breaking one and one that has been well written. If you have trouble reading stories which invoke strong emotions then this story is not for you. I myself thoroughly enjoyed this story and would recommend it to those who think they can handle the emotional and sometimes graphic aspects of the story.

Disclaimer: May not be appropriate for children due to violence and sex. This book has mature themes and violent scenes, as well as a scene of a graphic nature. It is recommended for ages 15+.