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Dana’s Valley
By Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan

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Dana's Valley

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Dana's Valley
Large Print Edition
By Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan
Bethany House (2001)
ISBN: 0764225162 (Large Print)
Genre: Christian Fiction

Reviewed by Carrie Smoot - September 18, 2001

Meet the Walsh family of Indiana. David and Angela have four children. Brett, at 15, is the oldest son and enjoys sports. Thirteen-year-old Dana has red hair, hazel eyes and is very much into music. Erin, 12, is Dana's best friend and younger sister. She is tall, has dark eyes, and is good at basketball. Bringing up the rear is Corey, 5, the baby of the family who, understandably, likes being the center of attention and wants nothing more than a dog. They are an average family with ups and downs, traditions, faith and many friends. Erin, the story's narrator, had said, "I thought our family was nearly perfect."

But then, each family member has to deal with life's changes, beginning with the death of a grandparent and a move to a new home. Erin begins to notice how quiet and reflective Dana has become. She feels left out because Dana no longer confides in her. But then, Dana seems to be sick all the time. Erin soon finds herself with more responsibilities, and she must learn to give up things important to her.

Well-known Christian novelist Janette Oke teams up with her daughter, Laurel Oke Logan, to tell this family's story. Anyone who has ever had family members with cancer will find this book an accurate and realistic portrayal of the pain, denial, anger, sadness, and family relationships that will never be the same again. Dana's Valley may be difficult for some to read, but it is very moving. Whatever a reader's faith background is, the novel's universality will resonate. Joyful moments do exist. There is much family togetherness, community involvement, piano lessons, birthday parties, friends' support, e-mails and in-person visits with faraway grandparents, a neighborhood costume party where one sister dresses like a butterfly, the other a teddy bear. One time, the family receives a package of wacky hats—a princess tiara, a cowboy hat, sports caps and helmets, and so on—and all share hearty laughter during an impromptu fashion show.

When going through tough times, we can't see how they are affecting us, and we don't understand their purpose. Maybe we never do understand. Or sometimes it takes years to be willing to look back.

Availability: Regular and large print, hardcover and paperback, and abridged audiobook edition. Publisher: Bethany House, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2001.

Copyright by Carrie Smoot © 2001

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