3 out of 4 stars
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Promises, promises, promises! How often do people make promises that they just cannot keep? We all make promises in life, and we believe at the time that we can keep them, but often it just does not work out. Connie Rife has heard many empty promises in her young life, but one promise holds true, the promise God gave. God told her that he would always be with her, and through all the trials and tribulations in life, He remained true. The Promise: A Memoir by Connie Rife is a poignant story of the life of Connie as she grows up with an alcoholic father and a mentally imbalanced mother. Connie tells her story through her fourteen-year old self.
The characters of the story are described to an extent that they are easy to picture. I could imagine myself in many of the situations, which led me to think about how I would handle these situations at the tender age of fourteen. I admired the strength and maturity demonstrated by Connie, but I was also sad about her not ever being a child and doing child things. Connie did not have any stability in her life. Her older siblings escaped from the situation which left her in charge of her younger sister.
Although the characters in the story are actual people in Connie’s life, I disliked some of the caretakers at the Stenton Child Care Center. I think people in these places need to be kind and nurturing, and many of them were. However, there were those who seemed aloof and uncaring. I realize that it would be difficult to have children passing in and out. Maybe the caretakers who were more aloof just did not want to get attached to the children as they came and went from the facility. Maybe this was their own protection. I also think it would be difficult to not have favorites although everyone should be treated like they are special. Many of these children come from very difficult beginnings and deserve a better life. The Stenton Child Care Center should have provided a feeling of security and comfort. I also realize that these children have their own ideas and attitudes that make some of them difficult to deal with. Connie obviously did not want to be there and was going to take every opportunity to run away.
The story needed additional editing. There were many spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors in the book. The author used dialogue throughout the book. The spelling in some of the dialogue was meant to show the cultural slang, but often contained words that were spelled incorrectly. For example, yawl was used instead of y’all. Because of the editing errors, I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. The story must have been a difficult one for the author to tell. It showed heartache, sadness, and loneliness. It also showed faithfulness and strength. Despite the editing errors, the book was interesting and kept my attention.
I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys memoirs about a troubled life, and to anyone who knows the faith it takes to believe in God’s promises in rough times. The book reminds us that if we focus on our faith, we can get through all things.
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