Twelve-year-old Terry Anderson is Growing Up on the Edge of the World- that is, in small-town America in the Seventies. Aptly named Grace, the town is home to a variety of colorful people whose lives touch Terry in many ways. As the youngest sibling in a family without much money, Terry shares a room with his brothers and relates life as he sees it - mostly disappointing. What he wouldn't give for a snowmobile! The family struggles day-to-day because Terry's mother has Huntington's disease. The sorrow of dealing with the illness and the frustration of not being able to do something about it, colors everything that happens in the Andersons' world.
The church is the central focus of Terry's life. All of the rules he follows, places he goes, and things he does are governed by or strongly suggested by the church. One day, while taking off his ice skates in the shack the kids use after skating, Terry discovers a trap door in the floor. Inside, he discovers a bag containing a huge amount of money. It is the answer to all of his prayers, all of his longing. What is the right thing to do with the money? Can Terry reconcile his desires with doing the right thing?
Growing Up on the Edge of the World is a touching, light-hearted look at the true meaning of grace. That it's told through the eyes of a twelve-year-old makes the story much more poignant and meaningful. Readers will be given a window back into their own childhoods to reminisce about the ways they grew up and how their young minds influenced their worldviews. The portrayal of the church is exaggerated enough to teach some lessons about forgiveness and the true meaning of hypocrisy. Terry's character touches hearts with his youthful exuberance and his deep desires for things he can't have, both emotional and material.
The town in Growing Up on the Edge of the World reminded me of Philip Gulley's "Harmony" novels. The humor adds just the right touch of levity to some fairly serious situations; the light way the author deals with issues helps the reader relate better. Callaway states in the author's note that he is working on book two of the Anderson story. I look forward to discovering what happens with the members of the family.