Over at local bookstore, Amicus Books, a person can find several books written by local authors ranging from fiction to local history. One such book caught my eye when my mother found out the author was doing a book signing. At first I was drawn in by the simple summary on the back cover, but soon found myself entranced by the tragically beautiful story inside. The book, “Ordinary World,” is written by Stacy Baggett. It is a fiction novel that deals with what happens to a person after they have died.
“Ordinary World” is the story of Sherrie, a fourteen year old freshman in high school who’s life is cut short during a drive with other students. The reader follows Sherrie as she attempts to cope with her tragic past from the other side.
At the beginning of the novel, Sherrie is given the task by her Guardian Angel, Sera, to travel to the physical world and learn how her family and friends have coped with her untimely death. According to Sera, this would allow her to come to grips with own death, herself, and allow her to move on to a higher plane of existence.
With the first task of watching a young cousin, Sherrie finds it difficult to stay focused on the girl and not to drift to her friends. However, an event transpires that causes her to despise the child until Sera explains that the cousin looked up to her and loved her, and she acted that way because she didn’t know any better. When the information is handed to her in that light, she comes to forgive her. After completing her task with her cousin, she moves on to others, such as her best friends Eddie and Laura.
At the beginning of the story, Sherrie tells the reader that she had left her unloving mother and just moved in with her biological father and his wife a couple of weeks before her death. At this time, the reader also learns that Sherrie loves to be wrapped in music. Two of her favorite bands are The Beatles and Duran Duran.
“Ordinary World” gets its name from a song of the same name by the band Duran Duran. It was a single that came out in 1993, the year that Sherrie died. She had just received their latest album from her father. It was her favorite song.
Between her different tasks, Sherrie explains different parts of her past or her family’s. Her past is filled with abuse at the hands of her step father and mother, but the type of abuse from the parents is different. As the reader gets further into the book, they realize its a cycle. Her mother experienced abuse and neglect during her own childhood.
Sherrie learns that only forgiveness can allow her to come to grips with her past, and letting go of her former life not only helps her, but those she used to know and love.
Baggett’s story takes the typical Christian beliefs and uses them to create her own view of the afterlife. In the story, there is a Heaven and God, but when a person dies, they are not immediately sent there. Instead, they must, like Sherrie, learn to let go of the physical world, then they are able to move on to the next plane of existence.
“Ordinary World” is a story filled with raw emotion, and it has the ability to cause a person to think about a variety of things. And with its cast of characters that feel as if they could be real, this novel is sure not to disappoint.