Cracks In The Sidewalk

Fiction - Womens
332 Pages
Reviewed on 04/05/2014
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Award-winning novelist Bette Lee Crosby brings the wit and wisdom of her Southern Mama to works of fiction—the result is a delightful blend of humor, mystery and romance along with a cast of quirky charters who will steal your heart away.

“Storytelling is in my blood,” Crosby laughingly admits, “My mom was not a writer, but she was a captivating storyteller, so I find myself using bits and pieces of her voice in most everything I write.”

Crosby’s work was first recognized in 2006 when she received The National League of American Pen Women Award for a then unpublished manuscript. Since then, she has gone on to win another twenty literary awards, including the 2014 Royal Palm Literary Award, The Reviewer’s Choice Award, and the 2014 FPA President’s Book Award Gold Medal.

Passing through Perfect is the third book in her award-winning Wyattsville Series.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Samantha Rivera for Readers' Favorite

Elizabeth is a woman whose sole purpose in life is to be a good wife and mother. She has no care in the world but to accomplish these goals and she works hard at them despite the treatment she is given at the hands of her husband. When Elizabeth falls ill suddenly during her pregnancy with their last child, her husband determines to have nothing to do with her. Unfortunately that means her children (including her newborn son) will also have nothing to do with her. It’s almost a year before Elizabeth is finally able to see her young children again, but even then things are not what they might seem in Cracks in the Sidewalk.

Cracks in the Sidewalk is the type of book that you can’t stop thinking about long after you put it down. Elizabeth is a woman that any woman would be proud to be. She is able to roll with the punches and even when people behave in a reprehensible way towards her she is incapable of truly hating them and can only feel sorry for the love they don’t have. Her plight is one no mother would ever want to find herself in, but at the same time it is one that will draw you in. This is a heart-wrenching story but it is also a beautiful one of love and devotion and forgiveness. For Elizabeth’s children and her mother it is also a story of miracles and of overcoming any obstacle life may put in your way. An excellent book by Bette Lee Crosby.

Gisela Hausmann

It's a drama about humans, at their best and at their worst

This story could have been simple and tragic only. Claire and Charlie McDermott’s only child Elizabeth is diagnosed with an incurable brain tumor in her twenties. The disease is terminal. To make matters worse, Elizabeth is a young mother of two little children and pregnant with her third child when she falls ill.

Her husband J T is not a good businessman, his clothing store is going downhill. When on top of these difficulties his wife gets sick while pregnant, the baby has to be delivered early, and finally Elizabeth is diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, he completely loses control over his life and leashes out day after day. He feels punishes by life and wants to punish back those who he thinks are at fault, though he appreciates and loves his ‘innocent’ children.

This is where Bette Lee Crosby’s extraordinary writing skills come in. Though every reader has to be appalled at how JT treats his wife, Crosby shows us where this incapability to deal with difficulties is coming from. JT’s parents have failed to prepare him for life, J T thinks he can have the best, and “things that are broken” have no room his life. This is in stark contrast to Claire and Charlie McDermott, who love their daughter unconditionally and deal with life’s difficulties accordingly. The author goes even further by showing us the legal implications of this scenario. I was riveted by the Crosby’s writings about Judge Brill’s thoughts. I felt it was clever literary trick, to have the judge die and illustrate the wisdom of his decisions by contrasting them with newly assigned judge Margaret Thumper’s decisions.

This wonderful is a book about humans, with all their good qualities and their weaknesses. Contrary to other reviewers I do not see JT as simply “bad or mean”, Crosby has painted a lot more dimensional scenario. JT has had his dreams (of the grand clothing store), and projects his anger about his own failures onto others. The McDermotts show how love can overcome all of that.

“Cracks in the Sidewalk” is wonderful book that should be read not only for entertainment but also to show how much, love, gentleness, and humanity matter. 5 Stars

Gisela Hausmann, author & blogger

Cheryl E. Rodriguez

Bette Lee Crosby writes a tale of devotion in Passing Through Perfect. Benjamin returns to Grinder’s Corner, AL, after WWII. For him life changed, but for his hometown much remains the same. He had big dreams, but his dreams were small compared to the world around him. Benjamin resigns his dreams and becomes a farmer, like his father, and his father’s father before him. That is just how it was for a Negro in the south. Benjamin meets Delia and it is love at first sight. Their love blossoms. Before long, Delia becomes pregnant and the young couple weds. Their happiness comes with a price – Delia’s father disowns her! Times were hard, and heartache abundant, but the young couple learns to count their blessings instead of their losses. Tragedy strikes! The line that divides black and white is no longer blurred, it is ugly and unjust. Leaving Alabama, Benjamin wonders “how far north did a man need to travel to reach a place where people were color blind?”

“Folks don’t live in perfect, they just get to pass through every so often.” Passing Through Perfect by Bette Lee Crosby is an inspiring dramatic journey, revealing the depth of human devotion. Set in the deep south, it is not a fairy tale story, but one full of historical realism. Crosby is a precise and committed storyteller. She focuses on the depth of love more than racial prejudice; however, bigotry is the underlying force that drives the plot to its climax. Throughout the narrative, Crosby shares the inner intimate thoughts of her characters. This technique adds depth to the storyline and exposes character growth. The writing style is beautifully figurative, it is full of meaningful metaphors. Depicting extreme conflicts, Passing Through Perfect is a story of unfailing love and unmerited hatred. A tale of overcoming the evil intentions of man with good and honorable acts of kindness. It is a story that looks at the heart of a man, not the color of his skin.

Jack Magnus

Passing through Perfect: The Wyattsville Series, Book 3 is a historical fiction novel written by Betty Lee Crosby. It's the story of Benjamin Church, a young African American who grew up and lived in Grinder's Corner, Alabama, in the 1940s and 1950s. He served in the Air Force during World War II and became an ace mechanic. When his tour was up, he went back home to Grinder's Corner. While he was serving, his mother died, but his father, Otis, was still alive and working the small farm that the family leased. Benjamin quickly realized the difficulties Otis was having keeping up, and he began to take over the hard work. Fearing that Benjamin was forgetting to enjoy his youth, Otis encouraged him to go to dances and meet young women. One of those young women, Delia, a parson's daughter, caught his eye and Benjamin knew right away that he would marry her.

I was entranced reading Betty Lee Crosby's historical novel, Passing through Perfect: The Wyattsville Series, Book 3. Crosby deftly brings to life a family and a culture, and the devastating impact that the separate and rarely equal ideology of the deep South had on African Americans in the 20th century. Benjamin is such an inspirational character. While the color of his skin kept him from achieving his dream of learning to fly in the Air Force, the mechanic skills he learned while serving are the building blocks that, together with his hard work and dedication, make his mark in society. He's not the only unforgettable character in Passing Through Perfect. Otis, known as Daddy Church to Delia, and the Klaussners are just a few of the bright stars shining in this historical fiction of what were very dark times for African Americans. Crosby's writing is fluid and careful never to slip into sentimentalism. Passing through Perfect is very nearly a perfect novel and, indeed, often exceeds that very exacting standard. It was the first book written by this author that I've read, and it will by no means be the last. Passing through Perfect: The Wyattsville Series, Book 3 is most highly recommended.