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Kingsbury's Like Dandelion Dust

February 13, 2012 - Jodelle Greiner
I had never read any of Karen Kingsbury’s books, but I saw her book “Like Dandelion Dust” (2006) was recently made into a movie, so I thought I’d give it a try.

Molly and Jack Campbell’s son, Joey, is 4, bright, polite and loving. They can’t imagine their lives without him and never thought they’d have to think about it.

But when Joey’s biological father, Rip Porter, gets out of prison and finds out he has a son, he wants Joey back. The law is on his side and Molly and Jack have to turn their little boy over to his biological parents.

Or do they?

In desperation, Jack hatches a plan to leave everything they have behind: the house, the prestigious job, the money, even family, so they can keep Joey. Molly thinks he’s crazy — surely someone, a judge, a lawyer — will help them. Her sister, Beth, a Christian, keeps telling Molly that God will work everything out for the best. With their options running out, Molly wonders how God can do this to a little boy. How can it be for the best for Joey to go back to his violent biological father? As the day comes closer when they have to turn Joey over forever, Molly begins to think Jack’s crazy plan isn’t so crazy after all... and it may be the only way they can keep Joey safe.

Although the subject matter is difficult and the situation will probably make you angry, this is a well-written book. I’m not sure how common something like this is, but I can see this happening in our society all too easily with men coming back years later and finding out they’ve fathered a child. Kingsbury deals with it realistically, because unfortunately, the law does try to unite biological parents with their children, even when logic says it isn’t in the best interest of the child.

The law of the land does play a part in this story, but Kingsbury doesn’t get into boring legalese, she uses it as a plot device to advance the emotional elements of the story. This is a story about a couple’s love for their child, sisters’ love for each other, and a child’s love for his family. Kingsbury, who has six children herself, captures Joey’s innocence, his bewilderment at why he has to go away, and his cute misunderstanding of a common phrase used in prayer.

It’s a story about domestic violence, the insidious hold some abusive men have on women, and how difficult it is to break free.

It is also a story about God’s love for people and how he works in mysterious ways to protect and take care of people, even when we can’t always see His hand, and how he can reach anyone and work in their lives.


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