Harvest House Publishers
Growing Up on the Edge of the World is Phil Callaway's delightful coming-of-age story of twelve-year-old Terry Anderson. Though growing up in Grace in 1976, Terry doesn't think much of it. He describes it as a town "(y)ou can't miss....(b)ut most people do."
Terry wants so many things: his mom to recover from Huntington's disease, to be athletic and funny like his older brother Tony, better food than his thirteen-year-old sister Liz can cook, the admiration of pretty Mary Beth Swanson, a motor bike, a snowmobile, and lots of candy.
When he finds a bagful of money under the skate shack, it seems that God is answering his prayers to be rich. He knows he should tell the police or his dad, but he instead hides the money and begins spending it.
As everything starts going wrong, except for pretty Mary Beth, Terry's heart hardens against God.
Though the story starts slowly, it is a touching, funny, poignant, and hopeful tale of sin, guilt, redemption and grace.
Occasionally Callaway's tenses confuse. I found myself checking whether Terry was looking back on his life or telling it as it happened. He captures a child's point of view well, with a few exceptions, such as when he has Terry make a comparison to some major philosophers, definitely out of character for this twelve year old.
Callaway characterizes most of the major male characters distinctly and well--the oldest brother Ben who smokes and jokes about being a radio talk show host, Tony who loves palindromes and is the family peacemaker, and Terry's godly dad. However, the major female characters remain rather vague. We learn more about the nurse Annabel than about Terry's mother, his sister Liz, or Mary Beth.
The editor of Prairie Bible Institute's Servant magazine, the author of fifteen books, and a popular speaker, Callaway definitely knows about family life. The workings of Terry's minds and of the male relationships in the family are thoroughly enjoyable. -- Debbie W. Wilson, Christian Book Previews.com
Young Terry Anderson lives in the small town of Grace. He asks honest questions -- "If God wants me happy, why do I have to sit through church?" -- and notices what adults sometimes miss -- "Arthur Tucker, the local barber, never looks you in the eye. He looks you straight in the hair, sizing you up, wondering if you shouldn't have just a little more off the top."
When Terry stumbles onto a startling secret that promises to right all wrongs, his life suddenly comes to a crossroads. Inspired by the godly example of an older brother and impassioned by his secret admiration for the prettiest girl in town, Terry knows the right thing to do. He just can't bring himself to do it.
Adventure worthy of a Mark Twain novel, a cast of colorful characters, and a mysterious illness await Terry as he tries to hide his guilt and control his fear of the consequences his actions might bring. A yearning for forgiveness and the hope of restoration lead him to even more amazing discoveries in a town called Grace.