Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Girl Who Slept with God

Relationships can be difficult to navigate. Whether we are talking about the relationships we choose or the ones we are born into, each carries a unique set of problems and issues. Val Brelinski’s debut novel, The Girl Who Slept with God, tells the story of Jory Quanbeck as she struggles to grow up in Idaho in 1970 and the events that lead to the creation and dissolution of some of her most important relationships.

Jory is the middle of three sisters in a strict, evangelical family. She is outspoken and strong-willed compared to her sisters. However, it isn’t Jory who causes the biggest uproar in her family. Her very devout older sister Grace goes on a mission trip to Mexico only to return home early… and pregnant. Grace insists the child is God’s baby—an angel baby. Not wanting to risk public embarrassment, the girls’ father purchases a remote farmhouse and shuttles Jory and Grace off to live alone out of the public eye.

In the midst of all this family mayhem, an ice cream man named Grip enters Jory’s life. Grip is an older man who befriends Jory when Grace is in Mexico, then continues to be her lifeline after the move to the farm. Grip shields his personal life from Jory, but manages to insinuate himself into the lives of the girls in very personal ways. In addition to Grip, Jory befriends Mrs. Kleinfelter, the only neighbor and the sister of the previous inhabitant of the home Jory’s father purchases for the girls. Without meaning to, Mrs. Kleinfelter becomes a very strong influence in Jory’s life. She cares for the girls who have practically been abandoned and helps Jory acclimate to the public school she is suddenly dumped in after only attending Christian school.

In a time in Jory’s life when survival seems questionable, the relationships she creates will ultimately be what save her and help her to understand the needs of others and her deeper family relationship. 

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