Wednesday, January 21, 2015


The O’Malley series by Dee Henderson is one of my favourite series of all time.  The O’Malley family consists of seven orphans who basically adopted each other, legally changed all their last names to O’Malley and became a family.  I fell in love with the entire O’Malley family and immensely enjoyed sharing their journey of one by one accepting Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour.  The catalyst for the series is Jennifer O’Malley – the youngest, the first to give her heart to the Lord.  Soon after accepting Christ as her saviour, Jennifer learns that she has malignant, late stages cancer.  Scared that the Lord might decide to call her home soon, her self-appointed mission is to help all of her siblings discover the glorious truth of the gospel.  Each book in the series focuses on one person in the family finding their way to God.

We shared Jennifer’s journey throughout the O’Malley series, and now in Jennifer: An O’Malley love story, a short prequel, we get to experience the beginnings of Jennifer’s heart-breaking yet heart-warming story first hand.  

Jennifer is a bitter-sweet read.  There are moments of joy and moments of sadness.  My favourite part of the book is how Tom introduces Jennifer to Christianity.  He starts by gently convincing her to join him for a church service.  After the service he asks her what she thought, and when she admits that she understood the words but not the meaning, he encourages her to ask him about it.  When she confesses that she still doesn’t understand what he believes or why, he simply asks her what she wants to know.  When she then asks if she could possibly borrow his Bible, he doesn’t hesitate for a second.  Unsure where she should start, instead of taking her all the way to Genesis, Tom suggests she read Luke.  Very clever since Jen is a doctor and Luke was a doctor.  I love the conversation that follows.  

“It’s okay to tell me after you read Luke that you still don’t get it or that it seems strange to believe it’s true.  Faith has to be something that is reasoned and thought about; otherwise, it’s just going along with the crowd.  And that’s not going to mean much, either to yourself or to God.”
“You’ll be disappointed if I say I don’t get it”.
“Disappointed, but still hopeful.  I wrestled with the question of faith for several years before I chose to believe what the Bible says is true.” He smiled. “I’m not holding this up as something you have to pass or fail.  What kind of friend would that be?  I’d just like you to be curious about God.  Read Luke and tell me what you think.  That would be a good place to start”. 
Later he tells her “God will still go on being God while you ponder the questions.  He doesn’t mind”.

The most important lesson to take away from this book, something Christians would do well to remember, is that no matter how badly we want non-believers to accept the Gospel as truth, it is wise not to pressure them in any way.  Guide them, help them, but allow God to work in them.  By being forceful we can do more damage than good.

Henderson's writing style seems to have changed significantly since writing the O'Malley series, and this book doesn't have quite the same feel as its predecessors. Although I did not experience nearly the same level of enjoyment that I did for the other books, Jennifer is nevertheless a lovely addition to the O'Malley series

Product information:
Title: Jennifer. An O’Malley love story
Series: The O’Malley series. Jennifer concludes shortly before the commencement of The Negotiator, and is best read followed by the other books in the series.   
Author: Dee Henderson
Publisher: Bethany House
Year: 2013
Pages: 154
ISBN-10: 0764211552
ISBN-13: 978-0764211553

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