The Blackberry Bush

Some mistakes are just a part of the bigger plan

Can the lives of two strangers intertwine to influence the world?

611 Housholder coverHave you ever wondered if there is a bigger plan to your life or if everything just happens by chance? In his newest book, The Blackberry Bush, David Housholder will take you on a journey across two continents to discover that your life may be bigger than you think and that even the worst of mistakes can find redemption. While on this journey, he will also examine today’s youth cultures and their complex relationship with the Christian faith.

According to Housholder, “We are all products of an extensive root system, whether or not we believe it or acknowledge it.” The tapestries of our lives have been woven together using the pasts of our parents, grandparents and generations before who influenced who we will become. But we can take the mistakes from their pasts and weave them into something beautiful in our futures. We can be a product of generational blessings and generational curses, but it is up to us to sort it out.

The Blackberry Bush begins with two babies, Kati and Josh, who are born on opposite sides of the world at the very moment the Berlin Wall falls. You would think that such a potent freedom metaphor would become the soundtrack for their lives, but nothing could be further from the truth. They will follow a parallel path connected by a mistake their great grandparents made years before.

Despite his flawless image, Josh, an artistic and gifted Californian skateboarder and surfer, struggles to find his true role in the world. He fears that his growing aggression will eventually break him if he can’t find a way to accept his talent and the competition that comes along with it. Kati, a German with a penchant for classic Swiss watches and attic treasure-hunting, is crushed with the disappointment of never being “enough” for anyone—especially her mother. She wonders whether she will ever find the acceptance and love she craves and become comfortable in her own skin.

Craving liberation, Kati and Josh seem destined to claim their birthright of freedom together. With the help of their loving grandparents, they will unlock the secrets of their pasts and find freedom and joy in their futures. Today, like Katie and Josh, our youth often fall into two different cultures. Josh is part of the “bro” culture which is outdoor-oriented, with sports as a focus, and generally more conservative. Whereas Kati is part of the “scene” culture which is more liberal and indoor-oriented, focusing on music. These cultures are apparent in the novel and can aid in a better understanding of the issues today’s 21st century youth are facing as well as the struggles they have in coming to faith.

The Blackberry Bush is a beautifully written novel of two characters’ search for meaning and their powerful rescue from the relational and societal expectations that are crushing them. It’s the story our own hearts might tell from our journey through life,” says Debby Griffith, radio host of Everyday Matters. Housholder’s journey will take readers into the deepest recesses of the soul while pulling them from their own thorny thickets. And along the way we may just discover a life of redemption and meaning.

The Blackberry Bush by David Housholder
                                                              Summerside Press/June 2011
                                        ISBN: 978-1-6093-6116-7/208 pages/paperback/$14.99
                                   Visit David Housholder’s blog at http://robinwoodchurch.wordpress.com,
                                       become a fan on Facebook (http://facebook.com/BlackberryNovel)
                                               and follow on Twitter (http://twitter.com/RobinwoodChurch).

This book was provided for review purposes only.

CBR Review:
I really struggled with this review, because I love writing reviews, and sharing what I like about books, but this one was hard for me, because I did not enjoy this book very much.  I read it all, hoping it would improve and I would like it better, but I didn't.  I have thought long and hard about why I didn't like it, and have come to the conclusion that there was two things about the book that made it hard for me.  First I have never been fond of movies, or books that jump around with datelines, and this book was written in the past, the present and the future tense, so that was one thing that distracted for me.  And the biggest thing was that the two central characters were not very likable for me, teenagers who attended church and talked about it being important, but also very involved in drugs and alcohol, that just did not sit well with me.  The story had the possibility of being an outstanding story of how two families will connect after years of not knowing there was a connection there. I want to close with some things that I did enjoy about the book.  I loved the Oma and Opa.  Kati's Opa was a special person and I loved how much she loved him and spent time with him, because he accepted her for who she was.  The same for Josh's Oma, she was a woman who understood that sometimes you have to make a choice about how you want to be treated, and she showed that to Josh.  The story of how Josh's great grandmother was tarred and feathered was heartbreaking and the love that her friend (husband) showed her, by marrying her even though he knew her heart belonged to someone else, was so noble. Those scenes were very special parts of the book.  I want to thank B&B Media for providing this book for review.  I give this book a three star rating.   

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