Contemporary Fiction Book Review: No One Ever Asked
Publisher's Description"Challenging perceptions of discrimination and prejudice, this emotionally resonant drama for readers of Lisa Wingate and Jodi Picoult explores three different women navigating challenges in a changing school district--and in their lives.
When an impoverished school district loses its accreditation and the affluent community of Crystal Ridge has no choice but to open their school doors, the lives of three very different women converge: Camille Gray--the wife of an executive, mother of three, long-standing PTA chairwoman and champion fundraiser--faced with a shocking discovery that threatens to tear her picture-perfect world apart at the seams. Jen Covington, the career nurse whose long, painful journey to motherhood finally resulted in adoption but she is struggling with a happily-ever-after so much harder than she anticipated. Twenty-two-year-old Anaya Jones--the first woman in her family to graduate college and a brand new teacher at Crystal Ridge's top elementary school, unprepared for the powder-keg situation she's stepped into. Tensions rise within and without, culminating in an unforeseen event that impacts them all. This story explores the implicit biases impacting American society, and asks the ultimate question: What does it mean to be human? Why are we so quick to put labels on each other and categorize people as "this" or "that", when such complexity exists in each person?"
No One Ever Asked, by Katie Ganshert, is one of the most thought-provoking novels I have ever read. The questions it raises, and the themes it explores are powerfully intense, necessary, and timely. This well-written novel is gut-wrenchingly raw and honest, yet it is not without hope. It made my pulse race. It made me think deep, hard thoughts. It made me cry. It made me angry. It moved me and shook me, and I couldn't be more grateful for it.
This novel bravely and boldly explores very difficult and sensitive topics such as personal prejudice, institutional racism, sexual harassment, gossip, anger, hatred, and hypocrisy. Even still, I couldn’t turn away. I found the stories and perspectives contained within this novel to be incredibly compelling, because Ms. Ganshert has skillfully crafted believable characters who are vulnerable, flawed, and achingly real. I truly empathized with each one of them in turn, seeing myself, for better or for worse, in each of their stories. I saw myself reflected in their eyes. I saw their truth in my own heart. I saw my feet standing in their shoes.
When fiction can make us explore our own hearts, our own motivations, our own insecurities, and our own fears, it is an incredibly marvelous thing. When fiction can nurture positive change, then written words become something profound and meaningful. This book and its many poignant themes reminds us all that assumptions can be dangerous, empathy is life-changing, and forgiveness can lead to healing and reconciliation.
No One Ever Asked is a novel worthy of careful attention, thoughtful contemplation, humble reflections, and honest discussions. My fervent recommendation of this book could not be more sincere, earnest, or resolute.
My ReflectionThis novel will linger in my thoughts and on my heart for a very long time to come. It resonated with me on a deeply personal level. It is refreshingly relevant when a work of fiction draws attention to painful realities that must be addressed with humble hearts and Biblical truth. Throughout this novel, the harm and destruction that is wrought as a result of ignorance, fear, and prejudice touches on the ongoing battle with hate that still rages throughout our country today.
As demonstrated in this novel it is a message worthy of repeatedly sharing that only through faith in the inclusive message of the Gospel can we truly be one in Christ Jesus. Like the characters in this novel, we must all find the courage to pursue forgiveness in our own hearts, to seek justice where injustice prevails, and to offer mercy where it has been withheld. We must not be afraid to ask hard questions or to listen to tough answers. We must endeavor to ensure that our own thoughts and actions overflow with the unconditional love that Jesus commands us to share with everyone.