by Jonna Ivin
Published: January 12, 2012
Raised by an alcoholic mother and without a father, Jonna learned at a young age to put her needs on the back-burner. After her mother dies of cancer, she goes on a spiritual journey looking for enlightenment and a purpose for her life. Eventually, she ends up as a volunteer in the relief effort following Hurricane Ike. There she meets a man who will forever change her life.
In the swamps of Louisiana and the hills of Arkansas, Jonna follows her heart to build a life with an American hero - a 20 year veteran of the Army Special Forces. Only after uprooting her whole life, leaving everything and everyone she knows behind, do the pieces of this fairytale start to unravel. Realizing the man of her dreams is actually the stuff of nightmares; Jonna must once again go within and discover why she is a woman willing to love for crumbs.
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This was an interesting read for me, yet left me having to mull it over on how I really felt about it. The timeline is a bit jumpy for my taste, with oddly placed flashbacks. While the content of the flashbacks were absolutely necessary to the story, to understanding how Jonna came to making the choices she did – I wished the story had been in chronological order. And I don’t feel it would have lost the flow by doing so.
Portions of this story were very hard for me to get through, emotionally. Having an alcoholic mother that I lost to cancer – when Jonna would flashback to those periods of her life, it surged too many hard memories to the surface for me. But isn’t that what many readers look for in a book, to make you feel?
The budding relationship with Chris really was something you would see in fairytales. Jonna made some poor decisions, decisions she knew weren’t true to her real character and values, but his personality is so strong, you too find yourself thinking, “Shoot girl, go on and love the boy.” But fairytales aren’t real, and when you realize that, they unravel. Chris is nothing like the man she thought he was, she’s burned a lot of bridges by staying with him, and she has to figure out how to pick up the pieces and start over.
I’ve read in some of the reviews for this book, people berating Jonna for the choices she made and the lives she affected by them. And yes, I too agree that some of her decisions made me want to reach inside the book and slap the sense into her. They were immature decisions, something I would not have expected to be made by someone older than myself. But, if you take a step back and really look at the situation. Who hasn’t made bad decisions in their life? Who doesn’t have regrets? No one has the right to judge her for it. And no one has to deal with the consequences of her decisions, except her. And a
book without any ‘drama’, well now, wouldn’t that be just plum boring to read?
The formatting and editing could have used some work. Normally that’s not an area I touch on unless it’s very bad. Which it actually wasn’t. But there are definitely a few formatting issues, and editing issues like random quotation marks in the middle of a sentence (that’s not dialogue), a random exclamation point, things of that nature. Mistakes happen, even from the big boy publishers, but this I would say needs another draft to be ‘finished’. And as I write this, I have a very hard time including it in the review. Because as an Indie author myself, I know many read Indie books looking for errors, to happily report “See, self-published stuff is junk.” This story is not junk, but if you’re looking for errors, they’re in there.
Overall, this was a good read. I quite liked the author’s voice, I could easily see myself saying many of the things she did, and I could connect with her story on many levels. It’s not an easy thing to write and throw your work out there for criticism, and its even harder to writer a memoir – because you really are throwing yourself out there for criticism. I applaud the author for that. And her story is an interesting one, one worth reading, one I think a lot of people can relate to.
About the Author:
Jonna Ivin currently lives in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. She is busy working on the screen adaptation of Will Love For Crumbs and editing Loving For Crumbs - An Anthology.
You can read Jonna's weekly advice column on Ms.Behaved.com.