04 May Catholic Book Review – Finding Grace
‘Finding Grace' in 1970s America
by Dan Flaherty
Finding Grace presents a penetrating retrospective on the radical changes of a turbulent eight-year span in America between 1972 and 1980. It tells the tale of a girl’s striving for sanctity as she comes of age during a time of revolutionary changes in the Church and in society. The story touches deeply on issues of family, faith, friendship, as well as on the value of chastity.
Finding Grace goes from being a nice Catholic story to I-can’t-put-it-down territory.
Grace Kelly is the story’s protagonist. When the story begins, Grace is an awkward, book-loving thirteen-year-old, who must bear the burden of having the name of a beautiful film star, without having either her beauty or her charm.
The Kellys are a proud Irish-American Catholic family living in Plattsburgh, N.Y., between the Adirondacks and the Green Mountains of Vermont. Grace’s father sets the tone with his commitment to the faith—from carrying the rosary beads in his pocket, to casually suggesting to his daughter that she read St. Augustine.
Grace does so, and decides to try to become a saint. The book is the story of her high school and college years, as she discovers herself as a child of God, and finds God’s grace through her discoveries.
Amazon classifies Finding Grace as young-adult fiction, and places it in the category of “Women's Inspirational Christian Fiction,” but the book also would appeal to adult readers, especially those who came of age during the 1970s and 1980s. It is a book mothers and their teenaged daughters could enjoy reading together. It isn’t recommended for children younger than 13 because of some sensitive subjects related to chastity.
According to the biography Amazon provides, the author, Laura H. Pearl, grew up in Plattsburgh, New York, and earned a BA in English at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. She married her high school sweetheart, and they are the parents of five sons.
Finding Grace received the Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval in 2012 and was a finalist for the CWG's Catholic Arts & Letters Award (CALA).