This Tender Land


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"The acclaimed author of Ordinary Grace crafts a powerful novel about an orphan's life-changing adventure traveling down America's great rivers during the Great Depression, seeking both a place to call home and a sense of purpose in a world sinking into despair"--

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Sep 3, 2019

A Coming-of-Age Story

I typically review Christian fiction; while This Tender Land is a coming-of-age story of a young boy's desperate search for an accurate view of God, it is definitely outside the realm of Christian fiction. It did, however, give me a lot to think about as I share the love of God with those whose life experiences have caused them to view Him as uncaring and even cruel.

Odie and his brother, Albert, are orphans placed in the care of the Lincoln Indian Training School, although they were not Native Americans. There they were often beaten and isolated. Any glimmer of hope was almost immediately extinguished. Circumstances led them to flee from the school and the law accompanied by six-year-old Emmy and a mute Sioux named Mose. Their paths crossed those whose actions contributed to Odie's view of God, sometimes confirming, other times softening.

Outside of frequent vulgar language, the story is very well written, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to read it. I was provided a copy from Atria Books via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion. I was under no obligation to provide a positive review and received no monetary compensation.

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