Reckless Heart

Friday, October 18, 2013
With a sigh, Lydia closed her eyes and swallowed a lump in her throat. The pressure her family had placed on her was almost too much to bear. And she’d never felt more alone in her life.

Book: Reckless Heart by Amy Clipston, Zondervan Publishers, 2013

Genre: Amish Fiction
Target Audience: Girls 13-19
Subjects: Amish lifestyle and faith, family relationships, friendship, dating relationships, serious illness, alcohol
Summary: All it takes is one mistake. Just giving in to the overwhelming pressure one time. As if she wasn’t weighed down enough already, now she has to live with the guilt and fear that someone will find out what she did. If only things weren’t so hard! All she wants is to be a normal sixteen year old again! She wants to attend youth events with her friends, she wants the boy she likes to pay attention to her. She wants to take time to just relax instead of working two jobs, taking care of the household and playing mother to her younger siblings. But with her mom sitting at the hospital caring for her sister who has cancer, all sense of normality is gone. Everyone just assumes she’ll step up and take care of everything without complaint. No one seems to care what she thinks or how much she’s hurting inside.
Notes: Set in an Amish culture, this is the story of a girl who has to grow up fast when her sister is diagnosed with cancer and sent to the hospital for treatments. She takes on the job of helping in her grandmother’s bakery, cooking and caring for the house, and mothering her other two siblings in addition to her normal responsibilities which include being an assistant teacher at the schoolhouse every day. It isn’t even all the responsibilities that overwhelm her though, it’s the feeling of being alone, of having no support from her friends or family as she takes these things on. When she dares to speak her feelings, she gets yelled at and grounded. This book really emphasizes the legalism some Amish groups live by. She is chewed out for daring to even speak to a non-Amish boy and told it could ruin her reputation and opportunities to be a teacher some day. The fact that this boy is encouraging her in her faith and is the only one reminding her that she’s not alone, that God is with her, doesn’t matter to anyone. It’s a book that makes you really feel and hurt for the character. It does end with some hope, but mostly because the little sister is getting better and the boy the main character likes admits to liking her as well and starts actively pursuing her. As it is set in a culture where the focus is rule following rather than relationship with God, it’s hard to find a lot of strong spiritual elements but the neighbor boy does give some encouragement to turn to God when times are hard.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 3/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

Hebrews 13:5-6 – Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?"


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