Had a great time with members of Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church at Splash!, their annual book event organized by Lisa Vande Wege, Director of the Women’s Ministry. We sat poolside in the amazing backyard of Julie Andrews, and talked about Brenda and the writing process, and what a lively discussion it was!
Matters of faith were in the forefront and these very intelligent women had much to say about Brenda’s final choice. Some expressed beautifully the role that faith might have played in Brenda’s recovery. Others said they understood Brenda’s decision—that it made sense in her particular circumstances. I told them that when I created Brenda’s friend Rose and gave her a bedrock faith in God and her traditions, I was thinking of Rose Kennedy, President Kennedy’s mother. Mrs. Kennedy never gave in to despair, despite the tragic losses she (and we) suffered. Nor does our Rose, an orphan of the Holocaust.
And of course we spoke of violence and the terrible crime that catapults the story from a carefree walk in the park to a tale of recovery and loss. So many readers write to me about violence they’ve suffered, either as children or adults. They tell me the ways the book touched and helped them. This is gratifying. I didn’t set out to do this. I only meant to tell one woman’s tale. But that tale is universal. Violence against girls and women, unfortunately, is part of our lives; it is not just on our TV screen, in faraway places. It is in our homes and schools, in cities, in suburbs, on farms, in factories, and, as we well know, on military bases and in churches.
I was thrilled to donate my stipend to Arm of Care, a local organization that uses creative arts to restore and empower girls who have been exploited. ARM founder and president Amy Lynch joined us for this fine evening.