If you’re looking for an emotional read that will pull at your heartstrings, pick up Monica Carter’s sophomore release, Sacrifice the One. With this poignant tale, the author takes on the looking-for-love-in-all-the wrong-places theme and adds a fresh new spin that is sure to stir up feelings of anger, empathy, or both.
Robert Armstrong loves his wife, Rose, more than life itself. It doesn’t matter to him whether they have kids or not. However, Rose is consumed with maternal desire, so much so that she completely disregards her doctor’s professional opinions and becomes pregnant after two miscarriages. Although she successfully delivers a beautiful baby girl, Rose passes away shortly thereafter.
Left to be a single parent, Robert’s anger and resentment get the best of him. He blames the infant for the death of his beloved Rose. As a result, he gives the baby to his mother-in-law to raise. Rosetta “Seta” Armstrong grows up with the agonizing knowledge that her father lives in the same city but refuses to acknowledge her existence. Although Seta loves her grandparents, she yearns for her father’s love. She wants him to be there to praise her good grades and to cheer for her at basketball games, but he’s never there. Even when she reaches out and calls him on the phone, he practically hangs up on her.
To make matters worse, Robert marries a woman who has two children. When Seta discovers that her father has remarried and has no problem being a father to his stepchildren, she is crushed. She begins to question herself and what it is about her that her father hates. As she struggles with pain and pity, she is faced with challenging choices and tough teenage years. Fights at school are just the beginning, but how long will she fight for Daddy’s love?
Although this book is plagued by a slow start, Carter manages to gracefully recover from pacing issues and craft an interesting tale about a father’s misplaced blame that becomes the crux of his daughter’s pain. Sacrifice the One is a touching coming-of-age story that is excellent for young adult readers, who will appreciate some of the teen issues the main character had to face. As an adult, however, I wanted to know more about Robert and his thinking process. While the author presents enough information for readers to form an opinion about the father, a dimension of this character seems to be missing. Nonetheless, this novel is enjoyable and the story concept refreshing. Carter should be cheered for taking the “deadbeat dad” ideal to a whole new level.