Book Reviews

The Strongbox

“I do most of my pleasure reading in bed, and I found myself eager to pick up The Strongbox, night after night, as the story unfolded. I knew from the book description that author Terry Sue Harms would come out okay in the end—despite setbacks that would have broken many: neglectful parents, a stepdad who called her a bastard, the death of her mother when she was sixteen, running away from home, dropping out of high school, and exposure to drugs. But how? I kept reading to find out. She wrote honestly about her vulnerabilities but kept me feeling safe along the way.

“The author’s smooth, almost conversational story-telling drew me in and compelled me to read on. I marveled each time she pulled herself up: by completing beauty school, landing a steady job, teaching herself to read, taking college courses, graduating from Mills College. I cheered with her along the way.

“The unifying thread is her search for her biological father—a married man who paid child support but had no interest in contacting her or in responding to her outreach. Each time she searched her mother’s strongbox, she found out more, but of course it was never enough. The ending provides a lovely and satisfying twist.” —Dori Jones Yang

Dori Jones Yang has written a wide variety of books, including historical fiction, business, inspiration, oral histories, and children’s books. A former foreign correspondent in Asia, she aims to build bridges between cultures and generations.

Dori’s most recent book: When the Red Gates Opened.

The Strongbox: Searching for My Absent Father by Terry Sue Harms is a difficult story told with compassion and clarity. After I turned the last page, I sat still and quietly thought about all that Terry went through. The fact that she came out whole is a testament to her strength, her resiliency, and love for herself that was hard won.

The Strongbox is a compelling story with strong writing. Terry deserves a strongbox filled with hearts and love for her perseverance and determination to ferret the truth and then write about her discoveries both external and internal.”—Marlene Cullen, editor of The Write Spot Series.

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