While most of my book reviews are relevant to social media, business, job seeking, technology or leadership, I recently was offered the chance to read some lighter fare; a book by Bette L. Crosby called “Cracks in the Sidewalk,” which is an award-winning novel about a grandmother’s 20-year search for her missing grandchildren. Since I knew I needed a break from what I had been reading and the holiday season is upon us, I thought perhaps you might enjoy something different as well.
I first met the author, Bette, on LinkedIn, where we both participate in the Book Reviewers group. She shared an excerpt of “Cracks in the Sidewalk,” and I got hooked on the story right away. Bette creates characters that are believable and who struggle with the events of their lives. Some of the characters accept that life is not always a bed of roses. Others play the Blame Game, and do all they can to avoid responsibility for their own problems. As I read the excerpt online, I found myself wanting to learn more. Read the opening lines yourself, and you’ll see what I mean.
“I’m an old woman now. Some might say too old to dream, too old to still believe in miracles. But a dream your heart has held onto for the better part of a lifetime doesn’t disappear easily, it tucks itself behind the everyday worries that pick at you and waits—waits until theday you can again feel your heartbeat and know that hope is stirring insideyour soul.”
With those first few words, I knew I wanted to learn more about what was going on, and the rest of the story didn’t disappoint me. I walked alongside Charlie and Claire as they wrestled with the terminal illness of their daughter, Elizabeth, and the inconceivable response of her husband, Jeffrey. I was there as they made every effort to be a part of their grandchildren’s lives, even while mourning the loss of their daughter and fighting against the manipulative resistance of their son-in-law.
Each chapter is told from a differing viewpoint, so you are granted glimpses into the minds and hearts of the four main characters and those whose lives they affect. Perhaps we aren’t given as much insight as we, the reader, might like, but to do so would have made the book intolerably long. As it was, the story kept a brisk pace with lots to keep my attention.
If there were any significant disappointments at all, it wasn’t in the story or character development, but in the fact that the book could have used a thorough editing. There were many missing quotation marks, and repeated or misspelled words, which I personally find distracting and frustrating. But they did not detract from the quality of the story or the fact that I grew to dislike the antagonist more with every page turned, and that I admired the way the protagonist handled all that she went through.
Oftentimes, we can look at our lives and wonder why things happen the way that they do. We can even be tempted to feel cheated or gypped out of what’s rightfully ours. We can let bitterness rule our hearts, as Jeffrey does, or let acceptance and forgiveness rule, like Elizabeth. In the end, we may even be granted a second-chance we never thought possible, as Claire receives.