A gripping coming-of-age tale with profound spiritual truth

Discussion in 'Books / Publications Forum' started by Cindy, Nov 10, 2003.

  1. Cindy

    Cindy
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    Valkyries: Some Through the Fire and Valkyries: All Through the Blood , by Jeri Massi

    The Valkyries books (Moody Press) are really parts one and two of one story: a rare blend of a coming-of-age tale set in the 1970's, an exciting athletic narrative, and the story of a young girl's poignant and gripping spiritual journey.

    Just after her 8th-grade year, Tracey Jacamuzzi goes against her Italian-Catholic upbringing by attending a Baptist tent meeting and "getting saved"--a term that baffles her friends and family. Tracey's conversion is too much for her parents--a father who is already violent toward her, and a mother who is too preoccupied with an extramarital affair to give her eldest daughter much thought.

    A violent showdown with her father results in Tracey being banished to the Sanctuary of Mary and Joseph, an all-girls' Catholic boarding school. Here she endures cruel hazing before realizing that basketball is the school's all-consuming passion, and she must become skillful at the sport in order to survive. An older girl takes Tracey under her wing as a basketball coach and mentor, and becomes her best friend in the process, making life more bearable at the school.

    The team's mascot, the Valkyries--valiant female warriors in Norse mythology--become symbols of Tracey's quest for strength and truth.

    But Tracey must still deal with questions in her growing faith, and the fact that what she is reading in the Bible is often at odds with the doctrines taught at the school. In addition, the fact that she is outspoken and often headstrong makes for some severe confrontations with Sister Mary, the rigid and coldhearted acting principal.

    Along the way, God brings people into Tracey's life that give her love and acceptance and help her answer the spiritual questions that haunt her. School volunteer Maddie Murdoch imparts wise counsel and the promise of a motherly love Tracey craves.

    Jeri Massi brings the story grippingly to life. You feel outrage when Tracey is abused, share her pain when she is treated unkindly and unfairly, and are moved when she learns new spiritual truths. (The fact that I, a 40-something, non-athletic woman from a conservative Baptist background, could so empathize with this Italian-Catholic teen-aged girl, is a credit to Massi's ability to make this story so real.) Massi's descriptive pen makes you actually see the mist shimmering on the serene campus, and vividly-described dream sequences hint at her background in writing science fiction. And the basketball scenes are fastpaced and exciting, and could only be written by someone intimately acquainted with the sport.

    If you are a Catholic, you may not appreciate Massi's unflinching criticism of the church's doctrinal conflicts with Bible teaching. But she doesn't vilify Catholics themselves--one of Tracey's "good angels" in the book is the elderly Sister James Anne, who gives her unfailing love and acceptance; Father "Bing," the school's Bing Crosby-look-alike headmaster, shows her kindness; and she develops good relationships with some of the nuns who teach and coach her.

    Ultimately, I was captivated by Tracey's story (I scarcely put the books down while reading them!), and enriched by the lessons she learned about God's grace, His Sovereignty and His loving plan for one girl's life. Although these books would be ideal for a teenaged girl--especially one who is interested in sports--the common themes and the page-turning narrative make them a terrific fit for anyone who enjoys top-notch fiction.--Cindy Swanson

    For more reviews of great Christian fiction, please visit my website:

    http://www.crossspot.net/cindyswanson
     
  2. Cindy

    Cindy
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    :( Too late to edit my post...but I wanted to add a graphic and a link to amazon.com for more about the "Valkyries" books.

    [​IMG]

    Click here for info about "Valkyries" on amazon.com
     
  3. Cindy

    Cindy
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    Click here to read Part One of my radio interview with Jeri Massi, author of the Valkyries books.

    Part Two will be coming soon. [​IMG]
     
  4. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
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    Know the author from the FFF. Glad to see someone enjoying and promoting the book! :cool:
     

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