Leaving Yesterday Paperback – Sep 2009
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From the Back Cover
Her prodigal son has returned!
But has he truly left the past behind?
The police car outside triggers Alisa Stewart's worst fear--her son, Kurt, is dead, his life lost forever to addiction. Instead, the officer is just following a lead on a crime. And when Kurt calls to say he's checked himself into rehab and found a healing faith, Alisa feels a hope she'd given up on.
It's like her son has been brought back from the dead.
But then the cop returns, asking dark questions about the murder of someone Kurt once knew. Alisa is terrified. Her boy is different now. He's changed and deserves a second chance. But as his old life refuses to stay buried, Alisa finds herself facing an impossible choice:
keep silent and keep her son or risk everything in a quest for the truth.
About the Author
Kathryn Cushman is a graduate of Samford University with a degree in pharmacy. Her two previous novels were Waiting for Daybreak and A Promise to Remember, which was a finalist for ACFW Book of the Year in Women's Fiction. Kathryn and her family live in Santa Barbara, California.
Top Customer Reviews
I know as a mother I would never have to live through a child dealing with a drug addiction and other related situations but I know this is a reality to many mothers out there. Cushman delivers a very realistic portrayl of this family crisis and I love how Cushman showed that through faith in God, we can make it through whatever life crisis comes our way. We were never promised that when we believe in God, our life would be free from struggle, but we are told that God will bring us through the struggle. One thing that really resonated with me is that while there are consequences to sin, we know that there are also rewards for "doing the right thing". Leaving Yesterday is a perfect display of this. This book is very well written and reminiscent of Karen Kingsbury (if you are a Kingsbury fan, you will definitely enjoy Cushman).
I highly recommend this book to all lovers of Christian fiction. I have never read Kathryn Cushman's books before, but I will definitely be on the lookout for more of them to read!!!
I really enjoyed this book. It was the first that I had read by Kathryn Cushman, and it won't be the last. Alisa has to face the darkness of reality and still live a life that honors Christ. Her testimony has the opportunity to bring her house back together or drive it further apart. Cushman is not afraid to put her characters in hard situations, and then make the situation even worse. Her characters are believable, and though I didn't agree with all of their actions, the characters responded in a believable way. This is a story about family, faith, second chances and a truth that can set you free.
I recommend this book.
(I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers for the purpose of reviewing.)
The story, told in first person by Alisa, has a rapidly thickening plot. Pressure on her to look good in her position of women's ministry leader mounts even as her relationship with her husband Rick deteriorates and questions about Kurt multiply. She finds she can be most herself with her neighbor Lacey, a retired lawyer who is canny, pragmatic and a mistress of rationalization. Cushman takes Alisa and the whole family through some tough situations and decisions in a book that is hard to put down.
Character-wise I found myself with mixed feelings about Alisa. Though I sympathized with her as a mom and understood her mother bear impulses, there was something Barbie-dollish and plastic about her too. She came off as shallow in her role as wife and women's pastor, and smug as a public speaker. My favorite character was her 10-year-old daughter Caroline who was completely believable with her bouncy ways and excitable, dramatic clinginess. Alisa's husband Rick rang true as well - even though he was a bit of a downer. Jodi and Monte were recognizable and fun as aging hippies. I wasn't sure what to make of Kurt. He was sweet and genuine on the surface but showed just enough deviousness to keep me wondering, through most of the book, just how genuine his reformation really was.
Cushman does a good job of bringing up some weighty themes even as she weaves this entertaining story.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Well, let me introduce you to Leaving Yesterday, by Kathryn Cushman.
This was the first novel I've read by this author and I have to say it definitely won't be my last.
Alisa Stewart has experienced more than her share of heartache. First, she lost a son to murder. Then, her other son, Kurt, left home for a life of drug use and addiction. On top of that, she and her husband are separated, leaving Alisa to deal with her pain alone while taking care of their 10-year-old daughter.
When a police officer appears at her door, Alisa fears the worst - that her prodigal son, whome she hasn't heard from in forever, is dead. But the officer is only there following a lead on a recent murder about which her son may have information.
When Kurt calls out of the blue, saying he's checked himself into rehab, Alisa is overcome with joy that God has finally answered her prayers. Then the cop returns and makes it clear that Kurt is a suspect in the murder. But Alisa refuses to believe it. Her son may have fallen into addiction, but murder? No way. When questions begin to arise, she reluctantly finds herself doubting her son. And those doubts are what prompt her to make a choice: "keep silent and keep her son...or risk everything in a quest for the truth."* (tag from the back cover)
This story is about just how far a mother is willing to go to protect her child. Alisa is a Bible believing Christian who is faced with tough choices. Choices that will ultimately bring her closer to or farther away from God. Choices we all face. This book makes the consequences of sin very clear. It also shows what happens when we do things God's way instead of our own.
I loved the pacing of this book, which kept me turning pages. But more than that, it was the characters who stole my heart. I couldn't help but be drawn to Alisa as her mind and heart battled over the right thing to do. A mother myself, how could I not understand the depths of desperation she felt?
The secondary characters were also well developed, especially neighbor-slash-lawyer, Lacey, who brought a bit of humor to the story.
Leaving Yesterday was honest, heart-wrenching, emotional, and real. I would not describe this novel as one ending as "happily-ever-after" with a neat and tidy bow on top. In essence, this is a story that not only leaves yesterday behind but also offers hope for tomorrow.
It's more than a prodigal story, though it is that. There's so much about faith and courage and God's sovereignty in this story. I grew to love and care about each of the characters and read late into the night because I had to know what happens to them.
Kathryn did a wonderful job of revealing who the characters are and intermingled the plot in such a way that our discoveries about the people in this tale felt natural. Great pacing.
I'm definitely going to read more of Kathryn's stories.
I feel bad because my ratings for these types of novels are much lower than everyone else, but I feel it is much more important to be honest. So here we go - This novel brings up some interesting issues. Alisa is a grief counselor, but has failed to counsel herself or her family out of their own tragedy. The story moves along slowly giving information about what happened to her oldest son, Kurt's fall from grace, and ultimately to the night where it went horribly wrong. It shows the unimaginable lengths that a mother may go to protect her son, and leaves you reading to the end just to see what happens. From a religious fiction stand point it even address Alisa's position in her church and how her "church" friends will react to her choices (albeit in disappointingly predicable ways). Now, I get it, the novel is religious fiction, but I have certainly seen it pulled off better and I wish that this particular novel had had the chance. It introduces Alisa precocious 9 year old daughter and her feisty neighbor, but this is where the interesting characters begin and end. Even what seems like backslides and moments of conflict turn out to be exactly what they are said to be, leading to no real climax in the story. The most interesting debates are wrapped up in neat, boring bows, and the punishments simply don't fit the crimes for the sake of keeping the heroes safe. Alisa's inner dialogue and anguish never gets the chance to go to a dark place, and certainly don't reflect her choices. The rest of the characters are simply there to validate Alisa, and make a potential hit into a made for T.V. movie (and I think we know what channel I am talking about here). The nearly constant debate about whether an eye for an eye becomes repetitive quickly, and the end is simply predictable.
Alisa, the main character, is married with three children. She and her husband are going through some serious marriage issues and decided they would separate. While Alisa is a believer, her husband is not, and at one point in the book he brings up that he might file for divorce.
Every time the marriage came up in the book, I somewhat cringed. Oh boy....another source that promotes divorce among believers. To make things worse, another man was introduced. He seemed to be everything Alisa's husband was not...a good listener, someone who truly "got" her and someone who was interested in her life. I hoped it wasn't true...but I figured with the way the story was going, the characters would definitely end up divorced and Alisa might end up with the other man.
Imagine my surprise when in two separate scenes, the author described Alisa's thoughts about this second man...and it was described as a battle. Alisa was attracted to the man but she knew her feelings were wrong. She couldn't entertain such thoughts. She must tell him to leave. And yet it was a struggle.
How often do you see such thoughts portrayed as a battle against sin? It seems like everywhere I look, whether it's books or movies or songs, the message is that "true love" should conquer regardless of right or wrong. It's okay to divorce or break up, etc, as long as it is right for you, or it makes you happier, or you are really in love with the new person. Even in Christian media!
I was so pleasantly surprised to see a book take a firm stand on marriage and the lifetime commitment it is...for better or for worse...as long as the husband and wife both shall live. So refreshing!
Even though I didn't love the entire story line (and, I might add...the marriage aspect was only a side plot), it is a decent piece of Christian fiction. And it is phenomenal in upholding what real marriage is!