For as long as Edie Rudder could remember, growing up in the Appalachian Mountains of eastern Tennessee had shaped her life. The ever gnawing of her stomach that never had enough to eat, the neglect that was a constant, and her daddy’s love of alcohol were hallmarks that would follow her well beyond childhood.
Living in the midst of such poverty in a trailer on the mountainside with assorted relatives, Edie’s love for her daddy could not be dampened no matter how much her stomach hurt or her heart was wounded from disappointment. It was he who taught her to belt out the songs of Johnny Cash like “Folsom Prison Blues” and “Ring of Fire” as her daddy would swill down one beer after another.
Her daddy’s name for her was Edie Nise for Edie Denise. Edie was president of her daddy’s fan club and the one who often helped him up the steps to the trailer when he was too drunk to manage on his own. It was also she who drove the vehicle they might be riding in when he was too drunk to stay on the road and her feet could barely touch the pedals. It didn’t occur to her that he was putting her in harm’s way. Sometimes he would stop the car or truck and try to dance off the effects of the beer or liquor and he could nearly always make her smile.
Much of the time her mama was away from the trailer trying to work to earn a few dollars to bring home some food for the refrigerator shelves that waited empty. She would sometimes hear her mama and her daddy arguing about how little he tried to provide for Edie and her brother and sister, but it still surprised her when mama moved out and later filed for divorce.
When Edie and her siblings moved to live with mama, she spent much of the time alone and on weekends she often would be back at her daddy’s mother’s trailer. From time to time, Edie came in contact with a local preacher who would invite her to church and tell her she needed to be baptized. She wasn’t sure church was a place she could ever be good enough for, so time and again she would pray a prayer and get baptized.
It would be much later after daddy and mama had each remarried and she had survived the trailer on the mountain catching fire that someone would take time to tell her more about Jesus and His love for her.
The ups and downs of more broken marriages and a desire to make her daddy proud and somehow try to be “good enough” pushed her to work hard in school and later in athletics. Despite all the achievements, they couldn’t fill the empty place inside her or heal the conflicted relationship she had with her daddy or her disappointment with herself for her own bad choices.
No matter how hard she tried, those things haunted her until one day she came to the end of herself and could push no longer.
All The Pretty Things is a story about Edie’s life journey toward healing and forgiveness. From the poverty of the Appalachian mountainside where she grew up, through her years of hard work to become a doctor, she finally finds the courage to face her past and discover the inexhaustible love of her heavenly Father.
Edie’s journey will cause your own heart to yearn for her to discover that love from the Lord and give you a view of life in the poverty Appalachia.
To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my review.