Motorcycles, Sushi and One Strange Book is an apt title for the novel by Nancy Rue, written for female teenagers but fitting for adults, too. Written in first person narrative, the story centers on Jessie Hatcher, a fifteen-year-old coping with ADHD and an alcoholic, bi-polar mother in Mountain Brook, Alabama. Out of the blue comes a phone call from a man claiming to be Jessie’s father, whom she had been told was dead. While her mother is in the hospital after a suicide attempt, Jessie goes with her father, Lou Kennesaw, to the airport to go to his home in St. Augustine, Florida. At the airport, Jessie finds a well-worn book called Real Life and takes it with her.
In St. Augustine, Jessie gets a ride on Lou’s motorcycle named Levi, and she meets Rocky, a young man who works in Lou’s motorcycle repair business. Lou has another daughter, ten-year-old Louisa, “Weezie,” who makes constant problems with Jessie. Lou insists on helping Jessie work out her ADHD issues and has her working in a sushi bar behind the motorcycle shop with a Japanese couple who take no guff from her. As Jessie tries to adjust and cope with her new family, she relies more and more on her book, which tells stories about Yeshua (Jesus Christ) and offers solutions to many of life’s dilemmas. In the end, Jessie comes to love her patient and devoted father, and settles her issues with her half-sister Weezie.
Nancy Rue has written an insightful novel about the atypical mind and behavior of an ADHD child. The lack of concentration, the hyper-activity, and the ultimate frustration, plus the coping with the label itself, are brought out in Jessie’s character. Her father’s solutions include giving her love and setting routines and boundaries, which help. However, Jessie finds answers and inspiration in her Real Life book, which brings her the spiritual guidance she needs. There are no exact biblical quotations in this book, but excerpts from the book will satisfy the Christian reader’s quest for references that affect Jessie’s emotional life and provide the answers she needs. Well-written and fast-paced, this is a great novel that teens and adults will enjoy. It is highly-recommended. – Anita Tiemeyer, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Normal? While family dinners and vacations to touristy destinations are ordinary events for her “normal” friends, fifteen-year-old Jessie Hatcher’s normal life means dealing with her ADHD and her mother’s bipolar disorder. So why is Jessie shocked when the unexpected happens? Now her “normal” includes living in Florida with the father she always thought was dead and learning the secrets of sushi from a man who teaches by tormenting her. Life isn’t any saner with her dad, but a cute guy and a mysterious book might just be the crazy Jessie needs.