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  • Chasing Forgiveness – Book Description

    Just One Big Happy Family…

    Preston Scott was only twelve years old when his father killed his mother. He never saw it coming. Despite his parents’ constant fighting, Preston always thought they were perfect together. He never dreamed his father would be capable of murder. Then again, who could ever predict something like this?

    Fast forward: Preston is now fourteen. His father has just been released from jail and is moving near his grandparents’ house, where Preston and his younger brother Tyler have been living. His grandparents forgave his dad long ago for killing their daughter, and although Preston tries to feel the same kind of forgiveness, it’s not easy: he’ll never see his mother again, and yet, he still loves his father. How is that possible? Will Preston ever be able to reconcile his dueling feelings for his father, and move past this tragedy?

    Chasing Forgiveness was originally published in 1991 as What Daddy Did.

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From School Library Journal
Grade 8-12– A disturbing story based on true events. Fourteen-year-old Preston Scott was 12 when his father killed his mother. He narrates the events surrounding the tragedy, struggling to reconcile the hate and love he feels for his father, and attempts to put the experience in perspective. The account is an unbelievable testimony of love and forgiveness by family (except Uncle Steve) and courts (Danny Scott serves two years for his wife’s murder). Preston’s grandparents readily forgive and accept their son-in-law; they “adopt” Preston and his younger brother, Tyler, and move to a new neighborhood to protect the boys from the publicity of the past. When his father is released from prison, Preston must confront his ambivalent feelings of loneliness, fear, relief, and insecurity and, ultimately, ask his father why. Shusterman attempts to characterize Danny as a troubled but loving father, haunted by his wife’s rejection and his depression over a tragic childhood happening. In contrast, Preston’s mother is less clear and less appealing. Shusterman glosses over the inevitable lifelong strain in family relationships after such a traumatic event; at story’s end, Preston has come to terms with his emotions, forgiven his father, and achieved success in high school football and track. He goes on to be his father’s best man in a new marriage. Too many issues are not sufficiently resolved here, and readers are not given enough information about these people to understand their motivations or to be convinced of their psychological healing.

Gerry Larson, Chewning Junior High School, Durham, NC
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

5 Comments so far:

  1. Jo Sorrell says:

    Is What Daddy Did based on actual events. This taught me a lot about forgiveness.

  2. Shawn N says:

    I recently read through “Dear Author: Letters of Hope,” and was especially interested to see a letter to Neal Shusterman from a fan about this book, What Daddy Did, as well as the author’s response. I so appreciated seeing what I now understand to be Neal Shusterman’s characteristic warmth and heart in his response to the letter.

    I first read Unwind in high school and have kept up with all of the books in the dystology, eventually stumbling across Antsy Bonano books and Challenger Deep when it was published this year as well. Over the past several years, I have seen some of Neal Shusterman’s responses to fans who write in and draw fan art. It’s so cool to see an author be engaged with readers in a meaningful way, even if briefly. Thank you to the author for reaching out to teenagers everywhere.

  3. Sheree Jones says:

    Okay Okay. Only two years in jail for MURDER? Neal.. That’s just highly illogical, unless he was found not guilty.

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