Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Lay It on My Heart” as Want to Read:
Lay It on My Heart
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Lay It on My Heart

3.41  ·  Rating Details ·  335 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
It's late summer in Kentucky, the low ceiling of August pressing down on Charmaine Peake and the town of East Winder. Charmaine and her mother get along better with a room between them, but they've been forced by circumstances to relocate to a tiny trailer by the river. The last of a line of local holy men, Charmaine's father has turned from prophet to patient, his ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published July 1st 2014 by Mariner Books (first published January 1st 2014)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Lay It on My Heart, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Lay It on My Heart

Full Steam Ahead by Karen WitemeyerDare to Love Again by Julie LessmanA Match Made in Texas by Karen WitemeyerA Beauty So Rare by Tamera AlexanderMeant to be Mine by Becky Wade
NEW 2014 Christian Fiction
219th out of 324 books — 790 voters
Patron Saint of Liars by Ann PatchettThe Kentuckians by Janice Holt GilesThe Frontiersman's Daughter by Laura FrantzHannah Fowler by Janice Holt GilesCourting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz
Kentucky Fiction
10th out of 42 books — 12 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Karly *The Vampire Ninja, Luminescent Monster & Wendigo Nerd Goddess of Canada (according to The Hulk)*

P, is for Pneuman

2 Stars

UNPOPULAR OPINION TIME!!! (This novel has a 3.46 average star rating, guys and gals!! So don't let my 2 stars dissuade you if you think this is a book you will truly enjoy because you just might love it!)

My problem is that I am forever expecting books like this to be something they aren't. Which isn't fair of me but there it is.

I wasn't raised, as they say, with faith. I am a by-product of a mixed religion relationship, so while it would be easy to say I was raised Ath
Aug 21, 2014 ester rated it liked it
Lay It On My Heart is a rare, lovely novel. It is about, and from the point of view of, a teenage girl, yet maturely and beautiful written for grownups. It is about and set in a rural Kentucky community populated mostly by Evangelical Christians, but written with such sensitivity that any reader could relate. It’s about the breakdown of a family and the coming-of-age of an individual, and it eschews all clichés about both.

Everyone in East Winder, Kentucky, knows Charmaine Peake, an only child wh
Jul 25, 2014 BB rated it really liked it
I won this book through a Goodreads giveaway, and I've been wading through it for the past several weeks, hoping to write a good review at the end of my journey. At first, I admit I was looking for a nail-biting page turner, but the conclusion was so satisfying that I regret my initial impatience.

Charmaine is a compelling, hilarious, and accessible protagonist, and this story's power has everything to do with her perspective. I think she resonates with me so much because I attended a religious
Jun 26, 2014 Patrick rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
Just won this book from a Goodreads Giveaway. Can't wait to read it!! I will update my review as I go.


Okay. Perhaps I'm not the target audience. This book was a drag for me. The first 60 pages focused exclusively on "God" debates between anyone and everyone, Charmaine's "prophet" father, and Charmaine's menstrual cycle. As a man without a strong religious leaning one way or the other, I couldn't connect to ANYONE in this book. The only character that moved me at all was Phoebe, Charmaine
Temeca Curry
Dec 21, 2014 Temeca Curry rated it liked it

3.5 stars. A quick read that grabs your attention but won't let go. I read this book after reading a very popular thriller that was full of twists and turns with every page this was pretty much the opposite. It's hard to put in words why I couldn't put this book down but I couldn't until I finished it.
It's the type of story where after a few lines in you really start to care for and get to know more about the characters either because you can relate to them in some way or the beautiful writing
Jul 14, 2014 Judy rated it really liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
This book really surprised me. The story of a single event-laden month in the life of a 13-year-old Kentucky preacher's daughter, "Lay It on My Heart" actually gets a lot of stuff right. About small towns. About poverty. About religion. About mental illness.

The only thing I really regretted about this book is that it ended too soon. I wanted to know more about the life of Charmaine Peake.
Nikki Haug
Jun 11, 2014 Nikki Haug rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, first-reads
*Won on GoodReads First Reads*

Thirteen year old Charmaine is a pretty average teenage girl. She struggles with adjusting to her new middle school, adapting to her changing body, and not wanting to say “I love you” to her mother. However, when Charmaine's presumed-prophet father is revealed to be mentally ill, Charmine faces challenges that no middle-schooler should need to face. Confronted with the truth, Charmine is forced to think through her relationship with God, her mother, and the world a
Jul 24, 2014 Allyson rated it really liked it
Shelves: rggs-i-ve-done
I love books that are both clear and a bit muddled at the same time, and this beautiful book was exactly that. Like our young protagonist's life, the story is at turns bright and dark, elegant and dirty, straightforward and obscured. Charmaine's story--the story of all these characters, really--moves you without pandering to anyone. The writing is easy to flow through and yet also very poetic, even philosophical in many parts, but without seeming odd since we're in the third person limited POV ...more
Jan Boyd
Jan 16, 2016 Jan Boyd rated it liked it
Beautifully written and ultimately satisfying story, if you can survive the extreme religiosity that plagues Charmaine's life until about the last tenth of the book.
Noelle Walsh
Apr 21, 2014 Noelle Walsh rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This was a very good book and worth reading! It's very engaging and the story takes you in and you find yourself not wanting to put the book down! A must-read!

*won onGoodReads First Reads*
Regina M
Feb 06, 2014 Regina M rated it it was amazing
Fabulous read! Buy this book!!
Eric Susak
Sep 17, 2014 Eric Susak rated it it was ok
Besides the inauthentic mutterings that exposition masks itself in, besides the diary-like inclusion of every banal event in a teenager's life, besides the blatant attempts at deriving significance and literary depth out of every (hyperbole) little action, and even besides the sudden, unearned, and unresolved plot twists, Angela Pneuman's debut novel, Lay it on my Heart, is a decent read.

Lay it on my Heart is the story of a seemingly normal teenage girl, Charmaine Peake, who lives under abnormal
Barbara Reckers
Oct 19, 2016 Barbara Reckers rated it did not like it
Interesting read. What if you thought was the "voice of God" was actually a chemical imbalance? Seems like a good interpretation of the family's reaction to the news.
Paulette Livers
Mar 02, 2015 Paulette Livers rated it it was amazing
Shelves: southern
Here is a voice we don't hear often in contemporary fiction—Charmaine Peake is poor, female, adolescent, white, growing up in the rural South, where Bible quotes are dropped into everyday conversation and faith is not only to be worn on the sleeve, but broadcast loudly. I grew up not far from where author Angela Pneuman was born and raised, so the novel's setting is familiar. But this intimate visit inside the mind of a 13-year-old fundamentalist Christian was a new and sometimes unsettling ...more
Dec 22, 2015 Latiffany rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 08, 2014 Pgchuis rated it it was amazing
This is the story of a 13 year old girl, Charmaine, whose father, David, the son of a locally famous preacher, has spent his adult life as "a prophet". God has told him to do various seemingly dubious things, such as live by faith (i.e. without any income) for a year. His wife, Phoebe, and Charmaine have accepted these prophecies and gone along with his leading, although David's mother has had to pay their mortgage and Phoebe has earned money through sewing to pay for their food.

On a return from
Jamie Harper
Nov 24, 2014 Jamie Harper rated it it was ok
Since I just finished this book, it will probably be hard for me to articulate the sum of my thoughts just yet. I like a book to simmer in my mind and to roll the ideas and thoughts around before I know really what I think.

Upon completion, the book stirs up feelings about doubt. And I did not always like the darkness of doubt I felt as I was reading.

I am a Christian, and I don't like it when a book messes with my faith. I think that the book summarizes what it is saying about faith with the on
(Lonestarlibrarian) Keddy Ann Outlaw
13 year-old Charmaine Peake has more to cope with than you might expect. Her father is a self-proclaimed prophet. He comes home from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land stark raving mad and ends up in the psych ward. Charmaine and her mother, Phoebe have to move to a small cabin in the woods. Phoebe is very needy, and Charmaine feels rather suffocated. They are under considerable financial strain. When Charmaine makes the transition to junior high, she is fearful her hand-me-down clothes and growing ...more
Dec 20, 2014 Susan rated it liked it
I find books, both fiction and nonfiction, about the effect of religion on people's lives to be fascinating, and I've read several.

This one isn't about some crazy, snake-handling patriarch who takes “spare the rod” to an extreme, thank goodness. But it is about a crazy patriarch, or more importantly, his daughter. Charmaine is suffering the usual teenage growing pains, quite literally, but also is trying to follow her father's religious examples. But it is she and her mom, Phoebe, who have to de
Jun 16, 2014 Tiffany rated it did not like it
Shelves: first-reads
I was given a copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway and this is my honest opinion.

I know a lot of the other reviews on this book are raving 5 star reviews, but not for me. I honestly couldn't get through to the end. I tried and I tried. I read some and then put it down and came back to it and read some more, but I just couldn't do it. Maybe the story gets better as it goes, but I was in no way prepared for Charmaine's story.

I could not believe some of the material in this story. The boo
Jul 12, 2014 Rachel rated it it was amazing
Having lived my whole life in California, this book introduced me to a culture that I really only hear about disparagingly. I found the presence of Christianity in the novel and in Charmaine's life alien, overwhelming, and very uncomfortable, but I rode it out and am glad I did. Pneuman did a wonderful job of sharing Charmaine's story and the town of East Winder without ever coming across as preachy. She delivered Charmaine's experience of grappling with her faith without an ulterior motive, and ...more
Dec 05, 2014 Deborah rated it really liked it
This is a harsh but beautiful book. A coming of age story set in a strongly religious small town in Kentucky. The heroine, Charmaine, is beset by dangers all around-real, imagined, and completely unseen. Gradually she learns and grows-and it does take a village. She is incredibly, frighteningly strong-but of course she doesn't know that. She is selfish as only the young, desperately trying to cope with and hide their pain, can be. There is a line near the end of the book; "Meanness can pull you ...more
Lisa Cobb Sabatini
Mar 23, 2015 Lisa Cobb Sabatini rated it it was amazing
I won Lay it on my Heart by Angela Pneuman from Goodreads.
The protagonist of Lay it on my Heart by Angela Pneuman is a thirteen year old girl, but this is not a middle school reader. This is a novel that deals with some very important adult issues. Charmaine Peake is too young for the weight of knowledge and responsibility placed upon her. Charmaine's struggles lead readers to contemplate the expectations adults have of children.
While Charmaine grapples with the typical problems faced by a pread
Carlton King
Jul 17, 2014 Carlton King rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 09, 2015 Scribd rated it liked it
Shelves: friday-reads
A few pages into Angela Pneuman’s coming of age tale, I was fairly apprehensive. Without much of a religious background, the story’s beginning – a depiction of a fundamentalist Christian family living on “faith alone” in rural Kentucky at the behest of a patriarch who’s a self-described prophet – I was a bit adrift. But I soon came around to Pneuman’s fluid writing, black humor, and lucid depiction of an adolescent’s perspective as she grapples with all that growing up entails: puberty, an ...more
Jul 04, 2014 Akeiisa rated it liked it
I received a free advanced reader copy of this book through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

A coming of age story set in a Kentucky town full of churches. Charmaine has just reached the beginning of her awkward adolescence and the start of middle school when her father returns from a trip to the holy land and isn't quite himself. This already difficult time in her life becomes more complicated by her father's mental illness, her mother and grandmother's contentious relationship, her mother's ov
Lisa Murray
Feb 15, 2015 Lisa Murray rated it really liked it
OK, I'l start with the disclaimer that I went to college with Angela. we worked on the same literary journal and we probably even took the same creative writing classes. She, unlike me, followed through with the craft. Despite the inherent propensity to like this book, I was stunned by the way Pneuman deftly juxtaposed the desire to be faithful and the boundaries of belief with the raw difficulties of being a girl in junior high (transitioning, not a young woman yet--to quote Charmaine). While ...more
Apr 14, 2015 Stacy rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received a copy of this book via Goodreads First Reads.

My overall review is that this book is sad. Coming-of-age tales are always a bit sad with the loss of innocence, but Charmaine's life would be sad to anyone at any age. In fact, the whole town seemed sad and hopeless, and I'm glad I'm done reading about them!

There were a lot of parts of this book that were quite good...I could picture Charmaine and phoebe's tense mother/daughter discussions and thought Daze was a very interesting characte
Jul 18, 2014 eb rated it liked it
A coming-of-age story set in a hyper-religious Kentucky town. The protagonist's dad, who's always heard the voice of God and considered himself a prophet, has a breakdown and is institutionalized, leaving his daughter and wife impoverished. The action is lumpy, some setups don't pay off, and the ending is abrupt. But there are many sharp observations about adolescence to enjoy. Pneuman really nails the particular squeamishness teenagers feel about bodies--their own and, especially, their ...more
Aug 13, 2014 Russianumbrella rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Beautiful, frequently hilarious, and occasionally frightening story. I found Charmaine's feelings toward her parents are disturbingly familiar--dying to please her father while struggling to alienate a mother she'd rather die than become--but she voices them more eloquently than I could ever do. I wish this book had been around when I was thirteen.

Charmaine's mom gave her one thing my mother didn't really give me: the ability to ask questions. Never assume: question everything. Even your own rel
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Perfect Game
  • Walking the Dog
  • Boy in the Twilight: Stories of the Hidden China
  • Machinations (Machinations, #1)
  • A God in Every Stone
  • The Best Day of Someone Else's Life
  • Point of Direction
  • The City Under the Skin: A Novel
  • Have a Nice Guilt Trip
  • Saving Wonder
  • Angels Make Their Hope Here
  • Dry Bones in the Valley
  • Tumbledown
  • Rockaway
  • Queen Sugar
  • In Between Dreams
  • Dispute Over a Very Italian Piglet
  • The Selected Letters
Angela Pneuman teaches fiction writing in the Continuing Studies program at Stanford University and works as a copywriter in the California wine industry. Her stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories (2012 & 2004), Ploughshares, Los Angeles Review, Iowa Review, Glimmertrain and many other literary magazines—and were collected in her first book, Home Remedies (Harcourt, 2007). ...more
More about Angela Pneuman...

Share This Book