This Side of Heaven
Center Street, Jan 2009, $14.99
Nate and Annie Warren expected so much more from their son Josh, who grew up with everything he could ever want. Instead he has been a major disappointment never achieving anything beyond being a tow truck driver. He even failed at that though it was not his fault as a drunk driver left him unemployed and even lower in the esteem of his parents even as he rescued two young women from being DUI victims.
However, there are some friends like his neighbors Carl, Daisy and Cara who see him as a champion and a buddy. Although he would like to reconcile with his parents he holds no hope to do so as he cannot live their life. More so he would like to meet his eight year old daughter Savannah. When tragedy strikes him again, his mom meeting his friends realizes she never knew her son who is a hero to his friends and wants to make amends with her granddaughter that she never knew about. Her granddaughter lives with her addicted mom Fran Ito in New York City. Fran learns Savannah might be due some insurance money following Josh’s tragedy; she plans to get the money to pay for her habit.
Although loosely connected to JUST BEYOND THE CLOUDS through some characters, THIS SIDE OF HEAVEN is a fascinating inspirational family drama that focuses on what is a hero and tolerance for decisions by loved ones that may not seem right to you but is to them. Whereas God and his friends accept Josh as he is enabling them to believe he is a kind loyal hero; his parents feel he failed even when he severely injured himself to save lives. More than beauty is in the eye of the beholder as his loved ones failed to see his caring soul while his friends admired him for that. Karen Kingsbury provides a deep look at parental expectations unfulfilled because they were never accepted by their offspring; albeit the Warrens lose a lot by their negative reactions to their son.