Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Moment in History

Title: God’s Moment
Author: Franklin Howard
Publisher: Publish America, August 2008
119 pages, Paperback, $19.95
ISBN: 1606103717
Genre: Fiction

Rating: 4 out of 5

Annie Hershey is a small town woman with big issues. Unfortunately, quite a few young women today can relate to her.

The beginning of the story shows Annie and her boyfriend, Jubal Tucker, on a train from Corinth, MS to her hometown of Starry, TN. A very deep conversation takes place over the crying of Annie’s one month old son, Robert.

Annie says to Jubal, “I wish we could keep ‘em. I’ve given all my udda kids away. I really wish we could keep ‘em. He’s da baby.”

Jubal says, “You can keep ‘em. But, if you do, I’m otta here. We don’t need no babies holdin’ us down. And besides, dat li’l bastard ain’t even mine.”

Annie looks at Jubal in a pissed-off way. Then she shoves a bottle in the baby’s mouth and looks out the train’s window.

Juanita Hamm, one of Annie’s adult children, is at the train station awaiting their arrival. It had been years since she had heard from her mother and had been excited ever since she received the telegram saying that Annie was coming to town.

Annie sees Juanita and grabs the baby and runs to the door of the train. She hands Juanita Lil’ Robert, smiles, and then returns to her seat. Juanita is stunned. She says nothing. She looks at her li’l brother she didn’t know she had. Juanita keeps her eyes on the train until it’s out of sight.

Back on the train:

Annie says, “I love you, Jubal, and I’ll do anythin’ you say.”

Jubal replies, “I know, baby. Dat li’l bastard will be all right.”

Annie says, “I know, baby.”

Wow! Now that’s cold, but the statistics show that the number of children raised by other family members has increased at an alarming rate since the Pre-Civil Rights Era this story takes place in.

We hear so much about the so-called “deadbeat” fathers, but society rarely shines the light on the “deadbeat” mothers that plague our society.

Throughout this book, you learn more about Juanita and her family as well as her other siblings. It’s quite possible that Annie’s children turned out a lot better than they would have if she had raised them, while continuing to live the life that she led.

The main setting of this novel is Starry, TN. Most of the characters escape small town living by moving to big cities like Detroit or volunteering to see the world by way of the military. I like the fact that this story is told using the language and dialect of many people in the south in a way that seeks to inform rather than offend.

You learn more about Annie’s interaction with her family in the last few chapters of the book. By the time I got to the end I felt a little better about Annie Hershey. The statement, “We all have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” came to mind. And I realized that even though Annie started off as a very selfish woman, it takes a big person to admit when she’s wrong and try to make amends. Every time she made things right and erased some of the pain from her children’s hearts, a “God’s Moment” took place. And oh what a glorious moment that can be.

Reviewed by Susie McCray, writer & poet
Susie McCray is the author of a poetry collection entitled, “See What I See”. She also writes short stories that can be found on various websites. For more info, visit her at or .