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Home » Books » Fiction & Literature » Contemporary Women

Johnnie Come Lately

By Kathleen M Rodgers

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Format: Paperback / softback, 292 pages
Other Information: black & white illustrations
Published In: United States, 01 February 2015
Would life have been different for Johnnie if she'd been named after a woman rather than her dead uncle? Or if her mama hadn't been quite so beautiful or flighty? The grandparents who raised her were loving, but they didn't understand the turmoil roiling within her. And they had so many, many secrets. Why did her mama leave? Would she ever return? How did her Uncle Johnny really die? Who was her father? Now Johnnie Kitchen is a 43-year-old woman with three beautiful children, two of them grown. She has a handsome, hardworking husband who adores her, and they live in the historic North Texas town of Portion in a charming bungalow. But she never finished college and her only creative outlet is a journal of letters addressed to both the living and the dead. Although she has conquered the bulimia that almost killed her, Johnnie can never let down her guard, lest the old demons return. Or perhaps they never went away to begin with. For Johnnie has secrets of her own, and her worst fear is that the life she's always wanted-the one where she gets to pursue her own dreams-will never begin. Not until her ghosts reveal themselves.

Reviews

Secrets and Bravery: A Review of Kathleen M. Rodgers's Novel Johnnie Come Lately by Jodie Cain Smith (Army) I begin reading many books, but I don't finish many books. In fact, the bookshelf in my office is crammed full of abandoned books. Why, you ask? Why would a woman who makes her living with words stop reading? Well, when I am left to be nothing but a curious reader searching for a compelling story, I look for questions. When I find no questions in the story or characters or, disappointingly, my questions are answered too easily, I stop reading and move on to the next book in my stack. Thankfully, Kathleen Rodgers offers up questions aplenty and quickly in her latest, Johnnie Come Lately; questions that aren't fully answered until the last page. Oh yeah, I finished this one. I had no choice. In fact, I only had to meet teenage Johnnie in the prologue to be sucked into her story and the multitude of questions the few pages offered. Immediately, I had to know who this young woman was, why her mother ran off, what was the root cause of Johnnie's bulimia, did she ever recover, and how on earth did her Uncle Johnny and boyfriend Clovis die? I turned the page to Chapter One searching for answers, but was thrust into the world of a forty-three-year-old version of Johnny Kitchen, married woman and mother of three. Whoa, whoa, whoa! Stop! What about the teenager from the prologue and the decades in between? I had to know, so I was relieved to discover that Kathleen Rodgers is clever. Using a journaling device unlike others I have read, the details of Johnnie Kitchen's life unfolded in haunting language on the pages. In her journal, Johnnie wrote letters to herself, her adult self and teenage self, complete strangers, and the ghosts of her past, pleading with them to reveal their true purpose in her life, to forgive her past transgressions, and to soothe her grief for losses she can never recover. Within the pages of Johnnie Come Lately, I discovered an unlikely optimism, a tale of hope. Thank goodness! As a military spouse, I am turned off by weakness and incompetence. I want everyone, especially the women in my life, to know their inner strength and use it. I have no use for whining or pessimism or a defeatist attitude. Yes, I have high expectations, but Johnnie fulfilled those expectations. I must admit I was afraid Johnnie Kitchen was going to drown in her own faults and shortcomings, but I was wrong. What I found in her, despite her many failings, were optimism and faith that would keep her moving forward, fighting her inner demons, and searching for answers to her many questions. Her eternal hope was especially present when the problems in her marriage, challenges faced and posed by her children, and secrets of the past would be easier dealt with by not dealing with them at all. Johnnie Kitchen, this woman with so many secrets to hide, becomes the bravest of all Rodgers' characters by exposing herself and challenging the shortcomings in those she loves the most. By the end of the novel, Johnnie Kitchen had become my friend, one that I am sad to be without now that Johnnie Come Lately is off my nightstand and back on my shelf, every word devoured. --Posted February 9, 2015, on the Military Spouse Book Review

EAN: 9781603812153
ISBN: 1603812156
Publisher: Camel Press
Dimensions: 20.3 x 12.7 x 1.7 centimetres (0.51 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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Reviews

5 of 5 Stars! '

Beyond inspiring. Rodgers touches the hearts of men and women through circumstances ordinary people encounter and endure—bulimia, military enlistment, infidelity, abandonment, unconditional love, death and forgiveness. It is a book you will want to read twice and ask for the next.
— Jeanie Loiacono, literary agent

 
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