Book review: 'The Convict, the Rookie Card and the Redemption of Gertie Thump' is an unusual story of redemption

Published: Saturday, June 21 2014 5:00 a.m. MDT

Updated: Friday, June 20 2014 4:30 p.m. MDT

"THE CONVICT, THE ROOKIE CARD THE REDEMPTION OF GERTIE THUMP," by Becky Lyn Rickman, WiDo Publishing, $15.95, 228 pages (f)

"The Convict, the Rookie Card and the Redemption of Gertie Thump" is not really about a convict, a rookie card and Gertie Thump's redemption, although they are all in this book.

It's a story about a crotchety old lady named Gertie Thump who makes it her business to rail on everyone she meets and the consequences for her and her town.

When a desperate friend comes into her backyard in need of help, Thump begins to understand why she ought to reach out a little and be a friend now and then.

It's almost funny how it dawns on her that how one behaves really matters.

The book is understandably simplistic because, of course, sour behavior doesn't become something different overnight. And people heal slowly. Bitterness lingers and unkind actions and words cut deeply, but this is written almost tongue-in-cheek so it's forgivable.

Thump is funny and is redeemed in a Ebenezer Scrooge sort of way.

Her cohorts in crime, Seth and his mousey wife, Janet, are also rather cartoonish but their bizarre behavior is fun to read and watch.

Thump finds herself the "victim" of an odd crime that involves 12 kinds of cookies and scriptural references warning her to shape up.

At one point, her life appears to be in real danger. When she's missing, it appears as if this book could become a murder mystery. Then Thump is thrust into a kind of social experiment and she has to team up with a rather bossy and twisted person to make everything work out.

Meanwhile, she's trying to help her only friend in the world as she deals with curious twists and turns in the storyline and tries to undo some of the harm she's done over the years.

She has to rely on people she's never liked before.

The good people in the story appear to be rotten and greedy. Then the rotten people turn out to be stalwarts.

It makes for an interesting, rather amusing (clean and rewarding) read that ends happily with recipes for the cookies. (There's no real swearing, gratuitous sex or violence if you don't count "sticks and stones will break my bones.")

Author Becky Lyn Rickman is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Mexico Ward of the Columbia Missouri Stake.

Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with more than 35 years' experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com.

Email: haddoc@deseretnews.com

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