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Book Review: ‘Johnnie Come Lately’ a Novel by Kathleen M. Rodgers

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22796938Kathleen M. Rodgers takes us into the life of a young woman with many demons in Johnnie Come Lately. Johnnie is raised by her grandparents, after her mom has left her. Named after her Uncle Johnny, she has no idea who her father is. Having battled bulimia all her life, she has gained a foothold over her insecurities and hurts. Now at 43 she is a wife and mother of three children, two of them already grown.

Never letting down her guard and keeping her bulimia in control, she has found that life seems to be passing her by. She wants more, and as secrets begin coming to the surface, and questions about her father come to a head, she struggles to maintain her grip on the one thing that could take her back to the out of control young woman she was. Her best friend and confident is her dog, aptly named Brother Dog. Second to him are her journals where she keeps even her most cherished secrets.

Her yearning though is to move forward, but she has secrets of her own that must be banished. She is ready to move on and pursue her own dreams but feels both lost and conflicted. As the darkness of her own background and that of her parents begins to unravel, she must find the strength to stand her ground against her own anxieties. But can finding the answers of her own past help her to move into the future she has always dreamed about?

Rodgers has given us a tale of hurt and anguish. Her characters are an eclectic mix with emotions and flaws that are the same you find in the people you meet every day. Yet some of the secrets and issues are things we only hear about, and with a steady hand she introduces us to the dangers of bulimia and its aftermath. She then gives us a reminder of why dogs are man’s best friend with the introduction of Brother Dog, and while he is not a main character he adds a more personal touch, a realism that creates a spark in the bits of darkness encountered.

If you enjoy mystery and strength, with a touch of empathy and humor you will find this a great read. Often life’s road is not what we expect , but it takes a great deal of energy and fortitude to move forward in some cases and Rodgers takes us there with this work.

This would be a great work for a reading group or book club, giving a variety of discussion opportunities.

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About Leslie Wright

Leslie Wright is an author and blogger in the Northwest.