The Manualby Sherryle Kiser Jackson
Deidre Collins can't help but compare her fourteen-year-old son, DeAndre, to his father. who walked out of their lives eight years ago. Even after rededicating herself to the Lord, she's having a hard time forgiving and forgetting. Lately, she can't understand where the sweet child she raised has gone, replaced by this disobedient and disrespectful person. Lately,
Deidre Collins can't help but compare her fourteen-year-old son, DeAndre, to his father. who walked out of their lives eight years ago. Even after rededicating herself to the Lord, she's having a hard time forgiving and forgetting. Lately, she can't understand where the sweet child she raised has gone, replaced by this disobedient and disrespectful person. Lately, DeAndre keeps one foot in church and the other foot in trouble.
After the sudden loss of his own father, Andre Hicks resurfaces in Deidre and DeAndre's lives with a determination to compensate for the time lost with his son. Reluctant to see Andre as the answer to her prayers, Deidre must set aside her reservations in order to let DeAndre stay with his father during his suspension from school.
Father and son forge a bond that puts Deidre in constant contact with Andre. Old feelings are brought to the surface. Can they leave behind the disappointments of the past in order to do what is right for their son's future? Can they submit their will to the possibilities of what God has in store for all of them?
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If my son got suspended for sticking his hand up a girl's pants and I was called in front of a panel of his teachers to hear about it, I'd probably want the floor to open up and swallow me whole. But single mom Deidre Collins handles the situation with a lot of prayer and remarkable restraint. This is one reason she makes such a sympathetic character. Her son, DeAndre, has lost his ever lovin' mind and unfortunately, things only go downhill from there. It's clear DeAndre needs a male role model in his life. Instead of accepting the help of the smarmy brother at her church willing to 'stand in the gap', Deidre reluctantly turns to her baby's daddy, and the only man she's ever loved, Andre Hicks. But when old sparks start to fly, Deidre is tempted to fall into familiar patterns of sin. Will God give her the strength to live out her faith? I have a soft spot for books that reunite high school sweethearts. You never fall as hard or as fast you do when you're a teenager. Author Sherryle Jackson illustrates this perfectly by giving us glimpses of DeAndre's first crush. His experience mirrors his parents' young love (with a radically different outcome). And his storyline makes a nice contrast to the mature relationship that grows between Deidre and Andre by the end of the book. Jackson also does a great job with the minor characters in this novel, especially Renita- the workplace slacker who takes more than her share of personal time. Don't we all know somebody like that? I had a couple of small quibbles with this story. I found the names of the main characters (Deidre, DeAndre, and Andre- nicknamed Dre) easy to mix up because they were so similar. Also, I caught a couple of editing mistakes (a missing quotation mark or question mark here and there). But overall, it was a fun, easy read with great voice and characterization. It had just enough of an edge to satisfy this edgy inspy fan, and I finished resolved to add more urban Christian fiction to my diet.
"The Manual" by Sherryle Kiser Jackson jumps right into the lives of Deidre Collins, Andre Hicks and their son De Andre Hicks. We meet Deidre and Andre as teens and can sense from the start that what the two share is undeniable. As the story progresses, we realize that there's been more loss than gain in their relationship, which has caused a seven-year separation not just from one another, but their son as well. Reunited at a friend's wedding, the co-parents consider the needs of their only child and decide that it's imperative that Andre plays a more active part in De Andre's life. Failing, fighting and females appear to be damaging any chances De Andre has of being promoted to ninth grade. While his parents are trying to parent, they find themselves looking back on their past. Can they all do what is needed in order to make things right? "The Manual" is a good read. I love the way Christ is offered as a solution even for the teenage son when facing a very difficult decision. "The Manual" is a fresh approach to dealing with co-parenting, raising teens and succeeding in life. Reviewed by: Crystal
Sherryle Kiser Jackson hit the nail on the head with this awesome tale of family, faith and forgiveness. Two of the main characters, Deidre and Andre, met while attending the same high school. Deidre was the popular church girl, while Andre was the leader of the local break dance crew. Soon, time and hormones found Deidre and Andre at odds and awaiting the birth of their son. Once immaturity and emotions set in Deidre and Andre found out that being grown was a lot harder than they thought. With the new baby, Deidre was working and going to school, while Andre never seemed to be able to get himself together. When their relationship seemed to be at its lowest point, Deidre's mother took that as an opportunity to get Andre out of Deidre's life for good. She gave him an offer that he couldn't refuse. The question is, was he only thinking of himself? Or was Deidre and their son DeAndre the motive for his snap decision? As the years passed, Deidre tried her best to raise DeAndre the only that she knew how. She took him to church diligently to expose him to the positive things that young men should be involved in, but that never seemed to be enough to keep DeAndre out of trouble. It seemed the more trouble that he got in, the more Deidre saw the uncanny resemblance to his father. She often reminisced about Andre and the trouble that seemed to loom over his every move. At the age where peer pressure is at an all time high, DeAndre battled resisting the sexual invitation of a girl that he was interested in and solidifying his own self esteem. Deidre tries to set the right example for DeAndre but he seemed to test her limits more and more. She is so fed up with his antics that she doesn't even see his incredible talent. That is, until she finds out that Andre is back in town and agrees to allow him to help her with DeAndre. The Manual dealt with some strong issues that I could relate to as both a woman and a mother. The battles that each character faced are very relevant today. Although some parts of the book were slow and drawn out, the outcome is very much so worth it! I enjoyed the Christian references without being too preachy. This is a definite recommend. Courtesy of African Americans on the Move Bookclub Unika Molden-AAMBC Reviewer