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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
Witty, touching, and thought-provoking, Turtle Heart: Unlikely Friends with a Life-Changing Bond by Lucinda J. Kinsinger is a story of friendship that is bound to create a lasting impression. Luci is a devout Mennonite girl who hears the F word for the first time at the age of twenty-four. Charlene is an Ojibwe, a Native American who never holds her tongue and is also a lesbian. These two women have nothing in common except for one thing: They love to question things. And when Luci becomes Charlene’s helpmeet, she becomes immersed and interested in Charlene’s worldview while keeping her good intentions of introducing Charlene to Christ. They will often find themselves at cross-currents, and the paradox is that it further strengthens their bonds. And in the end, Luci will come to regard Charlene as her mentor, her equal, her grandmother, her sister, her loudest detractor, and her strongest supporter.
The principle of thinking out of the box, opening one’s self to new ideas, and respecting other people for what they believe in are the core ideas of this brilliant memoir. Luci has a strong resolve of preserving everything that is good and valuable according to her lifelong orientation, but at the same time, she finds interest in opening a new door to broaden her perspectives, of finding common ground that makes the teachings of God even more understandable. This is the power of Turtle Heart. Lucinda J. Kinsinger speaks to everyone and her tale does not take account of whatever religious or philosophical belief you hold dear. One of the strong points of this story is that it solidly presents what an ideal friendship should be. Luci and Charlene have differing values, and they often disagree. Yet it is their very disagreements that make their friendship even stronger because it allows them to learn from each other. This story is one that I highly recommend for its uncomfortable truths that we all need to read and learn from.