HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Sentenced to Care: A Father’s Story
Author: Todd Wilson
Publisher: Familyman Ministries, 2006
Related website: http://www.familymanweb.com (publisher)
Language level: 2
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 16 and up
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Wilson, Todd. Sentenced to Care: A Father’s Story (published in 2006 by Familyman Publishing, a division of Familyman Ministries, 611 S. Main St., Milford, IN 46542). Billy Luck is a twenty or thirty-something young man from a terrible home life. He hooks up with a girl named Beth, she gets pregnant, and they marry. However, Billy abuses Beth until she leaves. While at a women’s shelter, she has a baby boy whom she names Will and meets a volunteer named Marsha Harmon who starts taking Beth and Will to church where Beth gives her heart to Jesus. With the help of her husband Chuck and other church members, Marsha finds a house for Beth and Will to live in. A lawyer named Paul Weaver who works with the women’s shelter brings suit against Billy when he files for divorce from Beth and gets the court to award child support.
But Billy does not want to pay child support. Working as a janitor in the local hospital, he concocts a scheme to steal a vial of HIV positive blood, and shortly after Will’s first birthday he pretends to take the boy to the park to visit a non-existent grandmother and injects him with the blood, explaining away the little red mark to Beth as a bee sting which Will got while playing in the park. Billy thinks that it is the perfect crime. His son would die, Billy’s problems would disappear, and no one would ever know—but he gets caught. At the trial, during which Beth is killed in a car wreck, Billy finds himself sentenced to care for the son whom he wanted dead. What happens to Billy? Does he just run off to avoid responsibility? And what happens to Will? I have worked with author Todd Wilson a couple times while arranging speakers and serving as emcee at the Greater St. Louis Area Home Educators Expo.
Sentenced to Care is an incredible love story of redemption. Yes, there is a lot of sadness, but the real focus is not on Will and his illness but on Billy and how he reacts. The book presents some sensitive subjects, such as alcohol and drug abuse, fornication, and unplanned pregnancy, so some parents may not be comfortable doing it as a family read aloud with small children, but Wilson deals with them in an entirely Scriptural and appropriate way, and I would recommend it for older teens and up. Some common euphemisms occur, and there may be a few religious concepts and practices with which some believers may not agree, but I especially liked the pro-life (anti-abortion) stance and the expose of faith healers. Not many novels can draw a reader into an empathetic emotional relationship with the characters as well as this one does.