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The cover letter that came with my copy of “In Front of God and Everybody: Confessions of April Grace” says it is the first of “new tween fiction series” for middle grade girls. So, why did this nearly-60 grandfather even dare to read the book? I’ll give you two reasons.
First, because it was sent to me free, with the flattering remark that the publisher (Thomas Nelson) thought I would “appreciate being one of the first to receive a galley of the book.”
The second reason that I started reading was because I recognized the name of the author, K.D. McCrite as being from the Ozarks – not just the Ozarks, but right here where we live (although she now lives south of the border in Arkansas).
As the author, speaking from the person of April Grace, begins her story, she grabbed my attention real quickly when a book character drove up to Ava in Douglas County. Although the family lives in fictitious Zachary County, the author throws in references to Branson, the School of the Ozarks, and Missouri Fox Trotters to maintain the connection to the Ava/Douglas County area.
With those attention grabbers, I was hooked, and the author held me by mixing humor with mystery.
One of the more humorous remarks made by April was in regard to her sister Myra Sue. It’s one of those one-liners we hold on to and wait for the right moment to repeat it ourselves: “How anyone can be that dumb and still be able to eat with a fork is beyond me.”
I was also attracted to the title character when she told uppity ol’ Isabel, “I may not talk good grammar but I know good grammar.” You who know me know I write better grammar than I speak. As for the mystery. Well, it wouldn’t be right to give that away.
“Confessions” is the first of a series of books in the life of April Grace. I’m not going to promise that I will read all of them. But I’m not saying I won’t either. Even if I do I may not admit it.
One thing I must admit, however, is that as I read the antics of the 11-year-old feisty redhead, I caught myself laughing out loud. Occasionally I had to stop and read a phrase to my wife or comment to her on something I had read.
Speaking of my wife, on Wednesday, June 1, Charlotte and I were married 39 years – all in a row, to each other.
It has been such a privilege to spend all of my adult life with my very best friend.
Happy anniversary, honey.