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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Place of Belonging by Jayne Pearson Faulkner

The Place of Belonging is told through the eyes of young Janie.  She lives with her grandmother and her young mother, Harriet.  Harriet works in a beauty shop all day while Janie is at school.

Harriet has found the Lord and although Janie says she wants to be a hairdresser just like her mom when she grows up, Harriet has higher expectations for her.  She wants Janie to become a missionary.

Harriet meets Gunder at their local church and falls in love.  Gunder comes from a big family of Swedes and they are farmers.  They get married and go to Bible Study in another state, leaving Janie with Grandma.  Janie is thrilled to finally have a dad, but misses them desperately.

When Harriet and Gunder return, they move into a farm.  Harriet has never farmed before so she is learning all new things.  Janie wants to live on the farm desperately, she would love a dog, but she only travels with grandma on the weekends to see them.  Besides, Harriet is pregnant and Janie is excited about a new brother.

Eventually, Janie moves into the farm too, as Harriet and Gunder have several more children.  Janie loves the big open sky and the farm.  She loves her family and her school.  She learns to play the accordian and helps take care of her siblings.  But Janie is still struggling to find her place of belonging and she prays to God to help guide her.

The Place of Belonging is a small book that reads quickly but the voice of Janie shining through has you thinking she is right in the room with you talking and telling her story.  I found the characters enchanting, and I really enjoyed grandma - she sounds like a really diverse and strong woman.  How a family raised so many children back in the depression has me in awe, when we struggle today with all that we have.  I really enjoyed reading this memoir of Janie and her place of belonging; it is heartwarming and inspirational.

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