THE HALLELUJAH SIDE is the funny, heartwarming, and "holy" original story of Roxanne Fish, a little girl growing up in 1950s Iowa in a Bible-quoting Pentecostal family who devoutly believe that the second coming of Christ could happen any daycertainly by the end of the week. For the Fish family, the world is divided into two groups, those who are saved and ready to be called to heaven any minute and those who are not. Here rock 'n' roll, Capri pants, lipstick, and roller-skating are the work of the devil, and sinners can be spotted in an instant by their knowledge of TV.
With a comic yet tender touch, Rhoda Huffey chronicles Roxanne's coming of age as she races the clock to be counted among the saved. Her neighbors certainly won't be, and it is in their sin-filled basement that Roxanne discovers, thanks to a Little Richard album, another kind of rapture altogetherher voice. Boy, can this little girl sing! Torn between the here-and-now and the hereafter, Roxanne has a life populated by angels with blue noses, demons who whisper "God doesn't like you," and sinners, sinners everywhere. But through her endearing eyes and in Rhoda Huffey's deft hands, this world seems like the most magical place on earth.
|Publisher:||Houghton Mifflin Harcourt|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.68(d)|
About the Author
The daughter of two Pentecostal preachers, Rhoda Huffey is a magazine writer and a tap dancer who teaches and performs extensively. She also holds an M.F.A. form the University of California at Irvine, and has been published in Ploughshares. The Hallelujah Side is her first novel.
Read an Excerpt
As usual, the service was boring. In pew three Roxanne leaned back, spying on the Woolworths next door, wiggling left for a better view. Colleen, being older, was babysitting in the nursery. It was getting dark outside. Chick Woolworth stood in his kitchen window, deliberately drinking a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, his hairy belly exposed. Catching Roxanne’s eye, he raised one finger, and she immediately looked away. The Christians ignored him, of course, but it took lots of energy. Now Chick Woolworth disappeared. Alcohol precipitated the Woolworths’ insane behavior. Once it touched your lips you could not control anything you did. Roxanne waited curiously, but the window remained maddeningly quiet.
Some sinners were nice, of course. A few of the kids at school were friendly, but still, you would not be seeing them after death. The way was straight and narrow. Lutherans, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, they flouted God, sitting in movie theaters, wanton. Roxanne sighed...
Suddenly Roxanne sat up in the pew. Sister Beverly Cedars had seen the devil in the laundromat, staring at her from behind a dryer.
“He kept right on lookin’ at me!” Sister Beverly Cedars cried. Her voice was wild and her eyes were wide. A chill traveled down the congregation’s spine.
“Get thee behind me, Satan!” Sister Beverly Cedars’ voice rang out. “Glory!”
Copyright (C) 2000 by Rhoda Huffey. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I have to tell you, this book amazed me. My mother, 'Colleen', sent me this book shortly after it was published. Thinking that I had heard all these stories growing up, it wouldn't be that interesting of a read. So I placed it on the shelf as a keep sake. When I got word that my Aunt Rhoda was coming to Cincinnati for a reading I thought, as a courtesy, I should read it before she got here. Wow... I couldn't have been more surprised. I have to say that I had no idea my dear Aunt was so talented! It was absolutely wonderful. Even having heard these stories before, I found it absolutely to be one of the most entertaining books I've read.
This is an extremely entertaining tale about a young girl's spiritual conflict: Roxie is torn between wanting to be 'saved' and wanting to truly experience life. Her obsession with the rapture is almost hysterical! A definite must-read for anyone who has ever prayed to 'receive the Spirit'.
An outstanding first novel. From the very first line, you are in Ames, Iowa, knowing that rock and roll, lipstick, and television are sure paths to eternal damnation, but longing for them anyway. Rhoda Huffey shows pure genius in bringing to life the characters of The Hallelujah Side. You feel their fear and their faith; their love and their longing. I would highly recommend this book to saints and sinners alike. You'll easily find at least one character to identify with!