Saturday, September 1, 2012

Book Review - Cruel Harvest

Nearly half a century after the time depicted in John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath, Fran grew up in a world of migrant farm workers little changed from what the Joad family endured in that timeless classic. Picking cotton and apples at age five, she has to endure emotional, physical, and sexual abuse simply to survive her nomadic childhood.

 During her young impressionable years, she witnesses bloody knife fights, overhears a plot to murder her father, and is devastated by the suspicious death of her baby sister. Dragged across the country in the mid-1960s by their sadistic, violent, alcoholic father, Fran and her sister live in abandoned shacks and under bridges at night. During the day the girls are forced to do backbreaking labor, picking whatever is in season.

 As Fran matures, horrific living conditions and unthinkable abuse do not diminish her determination to find a way to escape and she courageously risks her life to flee. As an adult, Fran yearns to find the only family she knew-a family torn apart by abuse, tragedy, and fear.

 Fran Grubb has a passion for helping and encouraging people. She travels across the United States with her husband, Wayne, singing her way into the hearts of her listeners and speaking at churches, tent revivals, prisons, women's shelters, children's homes, drug and rehab clinics and any place there is a need. Fran and her husband are founders of Feed The Hungry Chidren, a non profit working with the hurting in Kenya. She loves good coffee, reading, all dogs and belly laughter. When Fran is not writing she is singing and playing the guitar.

This book was just heart-wrenching. Fran and her sisters and mother were so brutally abused by her father. It was horrible and at times hard to read about. Fran didn't even go into detail about what was done to her and it was still horrible. I had tears in my eyes many times throughout the book agonizing over what this evil man did to these women/children.

However, it was also a beautiful testimony to the healing power and love of Christ! Fran always was drawn to the Lord. I could really relate to her feelings for the Lord as I always had the same feelings about Him when I was a child, too. Although I wasn't abused on the level that Fran was, I could also relate to her feelings of being un-loved by those around her and the feelings that everything was her fault. It's amazing how abusive parents always use this tactic to control those around them.

Fran saw her little, baby sister die (she doesn't make it real clear, but I had the impression that her father killed the baby) and she found out that her brother was sold to her uncle for $5.00! Can you imagine? To make things even worse (if this is possible), when her mother finally escaped her abusive father, she took the children to her sister's house. Fran's aunt ends up being abusive, too, and starves and withholds water from the children. By this point, Fran's mother seems so down-trodden, she doesn't have it in her to do anything about it for a long time.

Fran and her siblings don't go to school until her mother moves into a home of her own. However, the school authorities realize that the children aren't being taken care of and they place the children with social services and/or put them in an orphanage. This orphanage ends up being a wonderful place for Fran and her sister. However, after about a year, their escaped convict father shows up and kidnaps them. Things get much worse for Fran and her sister after this.

Woven throughout the story is how Fran's husband, Wayne, finds her siblings after years of not knowing where any of them are. Also, her faith in the Lord and how he redeemed her is woven throughout the story, too.

This book was really good and I finished it in a day. I would just caution you that it's hard to accept what was done to this family by the father at times. However, it's such a beautiful testimony, it's well worth seeing what the Lord can do and how Fran came through the other side of all this. I highly recommend this book!

*This e-book was provided to me by the BookSneeze program for my honest review

Blessings - Julie

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