Sunday, December 19, 2010

Leaving Yesterday by Kathryn Cushman

book cover

Leaving Yesterday
by Kathryn Cushman

ISBN-13: 978-0-7642-0382-4
Trade Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Bethany House
Released: October 1, 2009

Source: Bought through

Book Description, my take:
Alisa Stewart gives presentations on dealing with grief but feels like she's living a pretense. Her oldest son was beaten to death while trying to reach the lost for Christ. Kurt, her other son, started using drugs to avoid his guilt at not being there to protect his brother. Alisa's husband kicked Kurt out of the house two years ago and is now living apart from her because he blames her religion for the tragedy.

When a policeman asks Alisa about her son's whereabouts so he can question Kurt about the murder of a drug dealer, she's terrified. But then her son calls from rehab! He's turning his life around, and surely her son would never murder someone. Even if he did, he's a different person now and should be given his chance.

Then a violent young man is arrested for the murder, and Alisa learns that his family had a similar tragedy in their past. Alisa begins to question if she can live with always wondering about her son and feels guilt over the pain the other mother is suffering. But what will the truth cost her?

My Review:
Leaving Yesterday is a Christian general fiction. The characters were complex and dealt with realistic issues. I understood why they acted as they did even if I didn't agree with it. The suspense was created by the uncertainty about whether Alisa's son did kill the guy or not and whether her husband was going to divorce her or not.

I'd thought this would be a story about a mother having to decide whether or not to turn her son in and dealing with trusting that God will help the police uncover the truth. But Alisa was so deeply in denial about everything that it was more about her leaving the perceived safety of the pretense she was living to face the truth.

Alisa was a Christian struggling to understand why God was letting all these bad things happen to her family. Her belief (or hope) that God would reward her suffering with her desired "happy ending" was partly why she was in denial. The Christian message was woven throughout the story and felt natural and not "lecture-y" to me.

There was a minor amount of "he cursed" style bad language. There was no sex. Overall, I'd recommend this thought-provoking novel.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
My son was dead. I knew it the minute I saw the black-and-white car pull to the curb in front of my house.

Clods of potting soil still clinging to my gloves--like the debris of the last few years clung to everything in my life--I turned back to my house, walked up the porch steps, opened the front door, then closed and locked it behind me. Perhaps a reasonable person would understand that the clink of the deadbolt sliding into place did nothing to stop the impending news. Well, show me the mother who thinks with reason when faced with the news that her only remaining son is dead.

I walked into my kitchen and tossed my gloves on the counter, ignoring the splatter of soil they left over what had been spotless granite. I grabbed a cup from the top shelf and shoved it against the slot in the refrigerator door, holding it in place with such force I thought the glass might shatter. Cold water filled it almost to the rim. Just taking a little break from gardening, that's what I was doing. That policeman outside had turned onto the wrong street, that's all. He had probably realized his mistake and was gone by now.

Read more from chapter one using Google Preview.


Amy said...

I haven't read this one, but I've enjoyed other books by Kathryn Cushman that I've read.

Genre Reviewer said...


It's a good book. Since I was expecting a different storyline, it took me a little bit to adjust and get into the story. But I think she's a good writer.