Thursday, May 15, 2008

Joyce Meyer and Deborah Bedfords' The Penny ~ Reviewed

By Joyce Meyer and Deborah Bedford
Published by : Faith Words
247 pages
ISBN# 978-0-446-69593-0

Back Cover:

Jenny Blake has no idea how her life will change in the summer of 1955. But the day she stoops to pick up a penny imbedded in the hot asphalt, she starts a chain of events that will transform her life and the lives of those around her. Jenny is swept into a friendship with Miss Shaw, the woman whose past is the biggest mystery along Grand Avenue, the woman who will change Jenny’s future forever. As Jenny and Miss Shaw work together at the local jewelry store, they form a friendship that dares both of them to confront secrets in their pasts – secrets that threaten to destroy them. And in the process, they discover that big decisions often don’t amount to much, but little decisions sometimes transform everything.


The 50’s; fun and care free images of girls in ponytails, poodle skirts, bobby socks and saddle shoes, and boys trained their hair into greased back duck tails, wearing rolled up t-shirt sleeves, and black leather jackets. The “Happy Days” with the Fonz; come to mind. The 50’s also had a dark side with images on TV of policemen fighting civil rights demonstrators, the challenge of integrating public schools,and racial tension. On another front scaring Americans even more Soviet Union and the US created the “H” Bomb. Many expected our world to blow up. Amongst scenes of “Happy Days” some really disturbing stuff was going on in the world Jenny Blake lived in. Until the day she bend down to pick up a penny. Her life would never be the same.

“You know what I think? I think that you picking up that penny was more than part of a random chain of events. I think God was giving you a message. I think he wants you to know that he’s watching over you all the time.” Miss Shaw says to Jenny who is having a really hard time believing that one. If Miss Shaw only knew what her life was really like she wouldn’t be saying these things to her.

Jenny had her doubts about the penny and about God. Things were starting to look different but how could she trust herself or anyone else for that matter? There was too much pain in her life; she couldn’t get close to anyone right now. When a thought came to Jenny. She was desperate to talk to someone or bust; maybe she could be friends with Aurelia Crockett; a negro girl at Harris School. Crazy thought she knew but somehow it seemed right. This girl would never ask to have a sleep over. A negro girl would never expect to be invited to a white girls house. This seemed like the perfect set up. Jenny wouldn’t be expected to let Aurelia get too close because of the racial situation they lived in. Her dad wouldn’t allow a friendship or anything else with Aurelia for that matter. Jenny would be able to keep her secrets safe and still have a friend. This could work . She just couldn’t let her dad find out.

Jenny’s sister is obsessed with Grace Kelly the movie star of the 50’s. Because of Jenny’s love for Grace Kelly I learned a great deal about the actress in this book. How she became a big movie star, what movies she was in and how she went on to marry Prince Rainer of Monaco. Every little girls dream in that day and age was to marry a Prince. One of Jenny’s friends says “With all the talk of Grace Kelly. It sounds like your sister Jean wants to life someone else’s life instead of her own.” How true that was. If only Jenny could do that too.

At age 14; Jenny finds the courage to stand up for things she really believes in . She steps out to do the right thing, counting the cost, no matter how scary things got. Jenny knew deep inside herself she was not alone. I remember doing that in my life as well and things were never the same. This book is definitely a story of hope, courage, and God’s redeeming love for us. It’s about the process and courage of giving God control over our lives. Giving control to no one else but Him. That’s when our world changes forever. It did for me. You will discover in this book as Jenny did it’s all about the little things in life that really matter. You’ll learn like she did how to smell the flowers and see with new eyes the beauty around you every day.

Reviewed by: Nora St. Laurent

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