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Out of Her Hands by Megan DiMaria

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Review of Out of Her Hands
Review of Searching for Spice

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The Advocate

Out of Her Hands
by Megan DiMaria

Reviewed by Darcie Gudger

"DiMaria is unique in her approach to story-telling by using gut-busting humor to lift readers out of a deep emotional pit. Out of Her Hands, like its predecessor, Searching for Spice belongs in a genre I call transformative fiction. "

Is a little peace and quiet too much to ask for? After her quest for a sensual affair . . . with her husband Jerry (Searching for Spice) Linda Revere is content to savor life as it is and lavish love on her family. Her kids being young adults, Linda starts dreaming about her future son and daughter-in-laws. She prays her children find mates as incredible as hers.

A crack in the mirror of Linda’s dreams appears when Emma, the youngest of the two Revere kids, can’t wait to tell what her friend Hillary saw at a local Starbucks. Rumor has it that older brother, Nick, was seen making out with some girl in public. He was supposed to be in class.

Nick’s stomach leads him home into the buzz about his hormonal foray. Emma just has to know, “Hillary saw you this afternoon. At Starbucks. Kissing a girl.” Nick denies the accusation dismissing Hillary as an idiot. Linda jumps to her son’s defense making it clear that Nick isn’t a liar.

When rumors from the teenage world enter the workplace Linda rethinks her assumptions about her son. Co-workers report sightings of a lip-locked Nick. Adults don’t have anything to gain by reporting what they see. Nick’s elusive behavior plays into Linda’s growing insecurities.

Imagination running wild, Linda crafts a nightmare provoking profile of Mystery Girl. Her fears are confirmed when she sees the “surf naked” sticker on the girlfriend’s car. The image of the perfect Christian wife shatters leaving a pile of glass shards at Linda’s feet.

Heightening the tension, Jerry’s widowed father announces he won’t be spending Christmas with the Reveres in Colorado. Instead, he’ll be traveling to California to meet the family of his new love interest. A long-standing tradition will be broken. Emma, who was exceptionally close to her grandmother, feels betrayed and lashes out at her grandfather.

Can the Revere family weather the long line of storms marching toward Pine Grove, Colorado? Will Nick’s decisions to depart from family values drive a wedge between him and his parents? Can Ross Revere forgive the hostile attitudes of his granddaughter and daughter-in-law. Is it possible Linda will learn the truth about God’s sovereignty?

Reading Out of Her Hands is like putting a pot of water on a stove and turning the heat up in small increments until the water erupts into a messy water-everywhere boil.
In real life we expect sudden cataclysmic events to knock our worlds out of orbit. So goes the plot of most fiction. By starting off the story with a small tug then increasing tension in direct proportion to the passage of time, the author replicates real life. When life slips out of our hands rather than being yanked, we have a much harder time justifying our loss of control and submitting to God’s bigger plan.

The relationship between Nick and his girlfriend is every Christian parent’s worst fear. Megan doesn’t shy away from exposing Nick’s choices and the consequences. She also gives readers insight on the guilt and blame parents take on when their kids go against values they worked so hard to instill.

DiMaria is unique in her approach to story-telling by using gut-busting humor to lift readers out of a deep emotional pit. Out of Her Hands, like its predecessor, Searching for Spice belongs in a genre I call transformative fiction. The further into the book I got, I felt a prick of conviction in my soul. I had to put the book down, grab a pen and figure out what God was revealing to me at that moment.

Linda Revere, like many people who grew up in the context of conservative Christianity, harbors a deep sub-conscious sense of self-righteousness. Her natural tendency is to judge others based on a self-imposed standard: herself. It’s so easy to take a look at post-modern culture and the moral failures of youth and think, “Well. At least I wasn’t ever that bad.” That attitude repels, rather than attracts hurting people to Jesus Christ. Linda learns how to extend grace while not compromising her values. Hopefully readers can avoid similar heartaches by learning from Out of Her Hands.

Readers today are looking for something more than pure entertainment or scintillation. They want substance. Hope. They are in a desperate hunt for meaning in life amidst a world of growing terror and moral collapse. Megan DiMaria delivers, pointing readers to the one and only source of Hope and Peace. Jesus Christ.

Darcie Gudger is a freelance writer currently working on a young adult novel while trying to solve all the mysteries of motherhood with her adopted son, Kyle. In her spare time, she coaches the 2A Colorado State Champion Sheridan High School colorguard, judged equipment for the Rocky Mountain Colorguard Association and sings for the Bear Valley church choir and worship team. An adventure-seeker who lives and writes in the shadow of the Rocky mountains, Darcie loves hiking, camping, cycling, photography and keeping her husband guessing. Visit Darcie online at her blog, Joy in the Litterbox.