Abuse is a difficult topic to cover, and I commend the author for choosing to write a novel about this highly emotional subject. Her protagonist, Penny, eloped at age 17 with Trent, who worked for Penny's father. Throughout the book, Trent's abuse of Penny and Penny's acceptance of it reads very real. Penny's friends, Callie Mae and Fatimah both try numerous times to help her, but Penny waffles between staying with Trent and leaving him. Her pregnancy compounds the issue: she doesn't want her baby to be hurt, but she does want her baby to have a father.
Homes does a great job keeping the reader interested to the end to find out what exactly will happen with Penny and Trent. Will his abuse escalate to the point of resulting in death? Will he change? Will they stay together? Will Penny leave him?
There were some problem areas, though, throughout the story:
- The book starts off as a letter to Penny's son Manny, explaining to him about his father and their situation. At first, I liked the idea, but after a while, all of the insertions of "Manny" into the text was distracting.
- Penny elopes with Trent at age 17, after only a week of being "his woman".
- Penny and Trent attend church at one point, but then it is never spoken about again until much later. It seems to the reader that they hadn't gone back, but when it is mentioned that second time, it is explained that they had been going all those months.
- While Trent's abusive behavior is not condoned, and characters say that Penny is not Trent's property, some of the other thoughts in the book stick to the idea that the man is in charge (the head) of his household and must take care of his wife. While Penny & Trent's relationship is contrasted negatively with Fatimah and Edgard's good relationship, the image in both of them is that the man is in charge.
- When Penny finally sees her parents again, her father seems to be a different kind of person than described earlier on in the book. I think the author could have explored the family histories of both Trent and Penny more, to show how their pasts helped to shape who they were.
The symbol in the book of the statue with wings of glass was beautiful, and aptly described Penny. Fatimah and Callie Mae's friendships with Penny are wonderful, and Fatimah and Penny's is full of hurt and forgiveness both; it's a beautiful friendship.
Overall, the book was ok. I enjoyed it, but I didn't love it.