WOW!! I don’t even know what to say about this book. It has been a very long time since I picked up a story that immediately gripped me like Pennies From Burger Heaven by Marcy McKay. I couldn’t stop reading. My heart became invested in the story and I anguished with the characters. Here is my review:
Copper Daniels awakens like any normal morning beneath the cemetery’s Warrior Angel. But unlike any normal morning, her mother is not sleeping beside her in her own sleeping bag..
The eleven year old girl is flung into the depths of hell as she searches for her mother. She can’t remember a time when they didn’t live on the streets, but without her mother, she is sure she can’t survive.
She continually remembers what her mother taught her…never trust anyone. But, in the desperate search for Corinne Daniels, she finds that she has to have help. O’Dell who is the cemetery’s groundskeeper’s nephew helps her more than once.
Tommy Tucker, another street kid, joins forces with her when his own father turns up missing.
Copper ‘Penny’ Daniels has a lucky penny with a blue dot beside Mr. Lincoln’s head that a nun gave to her mother years ago. Her mother gave it to Copper and she has carried in her pocket for luck ever since. In a jam, she rubs Mr. Lincoln’s beard and asks for good luck. When she finds a large amount of money stashed in a hiding place in the Warrior Angel, she knows that her mother was saving up to get them off the streets and to California where the sun always shines. But when she loses the money and her lucky penny, she also loses all hope.
Attacked by a powerful street gang, she finds that her mother stole from the drug dealer and he gives her 24 hours to get $1,000 to him or else she dies.
The mission, where the street people go for food, offers a glimmer of hope when Mr. Jesus and Miz Jesus, TV show personalities, come to the mission to preach. Miz Jesus gives Copper $100. She has a plan. A few more visits to the mission for chunch (Copper’s name for lunch because they can’t eat until they attend church) and she’ll have the money she needs to pay Diablo back for what her mother stole.
Through the streets of ‘Paradise’, the roughest part of town imaginable, this journey with Copper Daniels is gripping, raw, gritty and real. Marcy McKay did an amazing job of writing this story. It makes me wonder if she had some firsthand knowledge of how life is for street people. Seeing it through the eyes of a child is even more realistic. The nicknames they give each other such as Butt Munch, Corn Dog and Turdmouth are entertaining and bring a bit of humor into a very dark story. This plot takes some unpredictable twists and resolution. I did not know until the very end who was responsible for the ‘Disappeareds’ and it shocked me!
Marcy McKay wove a tale with believable characters, harrowing events and tragedy beyond the normal human grasp. This story lingers long after the last page is read.
Marcy McKay is an award-winning short-story author and copywriter, as well as a freelance journalist. Her work has appeared in Writer’s Digest, Accent West, Roots & Wings, The Write Practice, Write to Done, and Positive Writer and Jane Friedman.