Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Surprise Packages

by Stephanie Black

When my son told me he was excited to start school because he was excited to see his friends, I was happy. He starts middle school this year—big transition—and I was pleased to know he’ll have friends around him to help make that transition easier. Good friends are a great blessing—a truth very familiar to the three protagonists in Surprise Packages: The Company of Good Women, Volume 3).

Even if you haven’t read Volumes 1 or 2, that won’t stop you from enjoying a journey into the lives of Deenie, Juneau, and Erin, three women who met fifteen years ago at BYU Education Week and are on a journey to earn the distinguished title of Crusty Old Broads. They live in different parts of the country, but distance doesn't stop them from being involved in each other's lives, laughing with each other, mourning with each other, uplifting each other, and giving each other a little kick in the pants if needed.

Deenie, Juneau, and Erin are good women struggling to do what’s right--and sometimes it takes them a while to figure out what right is. They're all interesting and complicated characters. They've all got flaws. Deenie struggles with her pride and her need to be in control. Juneau struggles to appreciate a rebellious daughter. Erin struggles to give up her need to be superwoman. All of them grow over the course of the book. Through joys and trials—and there are plenty of both—these women are there for each other.

I love the scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 130:2: “And that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy.” Kinda gives new meaning to being Best Friends Forever, eh?

I feel that one of the great blessings of getting involved in the LDS writing world is all the new friends that come with it--so thank you to all of you who have reached out to me and strengthened my life through your friendship. Truly, the network of support is phenomenal.

Surprise Packages
is written by Nancy Anderson, Lael Littke, and Carroll Hofeling Morris. Check out their blog here.


At 8/27/2008 3:18 PM, Blogger Jon Spell said...

I have a question that's really only tangential to your blog:

What grades make up middle school where you are?

My wife and I had a discussion about the various grades that make up the schools. Back in Florida, Elementary was 1-5 (K-5 some places), we had 6th grade centers, 7-9 was Junior High, 10-12 was Senior High. She then told me that we did it all wrong. Clearly, she said, 9th has to be part of high school, why else call them Freshmen. Therefore, middle school is 6th-8th.

I'm personally further messed up because I went to a magnet college prep school that was 7th-12th.

School me, please. =)

Jon (BFF: Best Fan Forever)

At 8/27/2008 3:59 PM, Blogger Tristi Pinkston said...

Great review, Stephanie!

At 8/27/2008 4:07 PM, Blogger Jeff Savage said...


I don't think there is a "right" answer. When I was a kid, elemetary was K-6, Junior High was 7-8, and High was 9-12. With my kids, they have K-5 elementary, 6-7 middle school, 8-9 junior high, and 10-12 high.

At 8/27/2008 5:10 PM, Blogger Kelsi Rose said...

It just depends on where you live. In the Mesa Unified School District, it was elementary: k-6, junior high: 7-9, and high school: 10-12. In Illinois (Dundee School District, I think) it was divided elementary: k-5, middle school: 6-8, and high school: 9-12. Yet again the Thatcher Unified School District is divided primary: k-3, elementary: 4-6, middle school: 7-8, and high school:9-12.

I have been interested in the series but have not read them, mostly because I don't have job and can't buy any books. Your post made me want to read them even more.

At 8/27/2008 5:45 PM, Blogger Nancy said...

Thanks for being part of our virtual tour. Friends for ever are the best. Writing about Juneau, Erin, and Deenie and their experiences together has made me want to reach outside my normal narrow personal boundaries and discover as many Good Women as I can and make new forever friends of my own.

At 8/27/2008 7:04 PM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Jon, where we live in CA, middle school is 6-8 and high school is 9-12. And I like that definition of BFF! :)

Kelsi Rose, I hear you about not being able to buy books! I wish I had unlimited book-purchasing funds.

Nancy, thank you to you and Carroll and Lael for writing such a great book!

At 8/27/2008 7:51 PM, Blogger Cheri J. Crane said...

Sounds like a wonderful book, Stephanie. Thanks for the review, and I hope your son loves middle school. =)

At 8/27/2008 11:47 PM, Blogger Pat said...

Oh dear - one more book that I'm going to HAVE to have! :)

At 9/03/2008 2:19 PM, Blogger Lael said...

Thanks, Stephanie, for letting us stop by your "house" on our tour. And thanks for liking our crusty old broads (a term of honor). And I hope your son is having a grand time with his friends in school!


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