PERSONAL: Born in Alexander City, AL. Education: Huntingdon College, B.A. Hobbies and other interests: Singing in her church choir, painting.
ADDRESSES: Home—P.O. Box 241975, Montgomery, AL 36124. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Novelist, media-relations specialist, and freelance writer. Copywriter for an advertising agency in Montgomery, AL; public information officer for Alabama Commission on Higher Education; media-relations director for Huntingdon College, Montgomery.
AWARDS, HONORS: Paraclete Fiction Award, 2004, for Life with Strings Attached.
Life with Strings Attached (novel), Paraclete Press (Brewster, MA), 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: Minnie Lamberth is a full-time writer whose work includes public-relations projects, greeting cards, advertising, articles, and other media. Her debut novel, Life with Strings Attached, won the 2004 Paraclete Fiction Award, a contest sponsored by Paraclete Press to find "a literary novel with Christian themes," as Lamberth remarked in an interview on the Southern Scribe Web site.
In the book, seven-year-old Hannah Hayes has made up her mind to be a preacher. But in 1972 Alabama, female preachers are uncommon, and people in her hometown of Wellton are not very enthusiastic about the idea. Still, Hannah follows what she believes is her Christian path and does her best to become a minister. She dresses her beloved beagle, Pumpkin, in the dog's best clothes and delivers sermons to the pup while standing on the piano bench. She passes the collection plate to raise money for "doggie revivals" in the neighborhood. She tries her preaching skills on her neighbors at every opportunity, but without much success. Social concerns from the early 1970s—the Vietnam War, women's liberation, and racial integration—skirt the edges of her comfortable world, but do not intrude.
Hannah also practices the Christian tenets she tries so hard to spread through her preaching. She befriends an unpopular child on the school playground, for example. But when Pumpkin disappears and the worst is feared, Hannah's faith and ability to forgive are tested to their limits. The novel "beautifully" captures the "simplicity and innocence of youth against the backdrop of life's inevitable disappointments and loss," observed Library Journal contributor Tamara Butler.
"One reason the narrator is so young is because I wanted to capture her at a moment before she questioned or doubted; before she even knew that it was possible to question or doubt," Lamberth related in Southern Scribe. "What I find amazing is that, for children, believing that the God of the universe has something very special in mind for their lives is the most natural thing in the world." The novel's "readers will be touched and delighted at how author Minnie Lamberth combines childlike awe, whimsy, and faith," commented Laura Lynn Brown in Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Arkansas Democrat Gazette, June 11, 2005, Laura Lynn Brown, review of Life with Strings Attached.
Library Journal, February 1, 2005, Tamara Butler, review of Life with Strings Attached, p. 60.
Minnie Lamberth Home Page, http://www.minnielamberth.com (August 20, 2005).
Southern Scribe Web site, http://www.southernscribe.com/ (August 20, 2005), Pam Kingsbury, "The Wisdom of Children," interview with Minnie Lamberth.