A REBELLIOUS YOUNG WOMAN'S DETERMINATION TO KEEP HER FAMILY TOGETHER, DESPITE CONSIDERABLE ABUSE FROM HER IRRESPONSIBLE AND VOLATILE HUSBAND.
1920s & '30s
BROOKLYN, WISE BLOOD.
JENNIFER RENNIE, 21-30S, BRUNETTE. VIVACIOUS, RESOURCEFUL, RESILIENT.
BILL RENNIE, 21-30S, DARK HAIR, HANDSOME. MENTALLY UNSTABLE, ALCOHOLIC, BORN AGAIN CHRISTIAN.
NELLIE AND WILLIAM RENNIE, 50S-60S, BILL'S KINDLY, MIDDLE CLASS PARENTS.
FREDA, 40S-50S, JENNIFER'S COLD AND CONTROLLING MOTHER.
PASTOR MARKUS, 40S, BLACK CLAD, BLACK HAT, A RELIGIOUS ZEALOT.
CAROLINE RENNIE, 17-30S, JENNIFER'S YOUNGER SISTER WHO HATES THEIR MOTHER AS MUCH AS SHE DOES.
A STORY OF A BEAUTIFUL LIFE THAT'S SHATTERED WHEN HER FIRST BORN CHILD SUDDENLY DIES. LIFE CHANGES DRAMATICALLY AS THE MAN SHE LOVES RIPS THEIR LIFE APART. IT'S A STORY THAT KEEPS YOU WONDERING HOW SHE HAD THE COURAGE TO LIVE IT AND HOLD HER FAMILY TOGETHER.
Target Gender: Female Leaning
Based on a True Story
Status: Yes: self-published
Publisher: BOOK BABY PUBLISHER
Year Published: JULY 27TH 2020
RAISED BY A DOMINEERING MOTHER JENNIFER SECRETLY MARRIES THE MAN SHE LOVES. HER MOTHER IS FURIOUS AND SCREAMS ,YOU'LL REGREAT THE DAY YOU MARRIED HIM. THEY HAVE A BEAUTIFUL LIFE UNTIL THEIR FIRST BORN CHILD SUDDENLY DIES. THIER LIFE CHANGES DRAMATICALLY AS THE MAN SHE LOVES RIPS THEIR LIFE APART.
BILL AND HIS FAMILY WERE SENT TO THE JUNGLES OF COLUMBIA SOUTH AMERICA BY HIS CHURCH. IN THEIR THIRD YEAR JENNIFER GOT PREGNANT AND THEY SAILED TO PHILADELPHIA ARRIVING DURING THE GREAT DEPRESION. THEY HAD VERY LITTLE MONEY AND NO PLACE TO LIVE. THEY STRUGGLE TO SURVIVE.JENNIFER MAKES A BIG CHOICE
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Hard Copy Available
Mature Audience Themes
Information not completed
Plot - Other Elements
Happy Ending,Meaningful Message,Other
Plot - Premise
Rebellion Against 'The One',Voyage and Return,Other
Main Character Details
Name: JENNIFER BILL
Age: STARTS AGE 20
Key Traits: Aspiring,Charming,Confident,Obedient,Religious,Skillful,Romantic,Desperate,Engaging,Faithful,Flexible,Educated,Honorable,Strong Moral Code,Outspoken,Adventurous
Additional Character Details
Age: 2 YEARS OLDER THAN JENNIFER
Key Traits: Confident
Additional Character Details
The author has not yet written this
Additional Character Details
The author has not yet written this
JENNIFER & HER SISTER'S LIFE WAS ALWAYS CONTROLLED BY THEIR DOMINEERING MOTHER. JENNIFER REBELLED WHEN SHE GOT OLDER AS SHE WANTED TO MAKE HER OWN DECISIONS. AGAINST HER MOTHERS WISHES SHE ENROLLED IN A NURSING SCHOOL ,THEN ELOPED WITH THE MAN SHE LOVED. HER MOTHER TRIED TO FORCE HER TO COME HOME, WHEN THAT DIDN'T WORK SHE SCREAMED, "YOU'LL REGREAT THE DAY YOU MARRIED HIM." SHE NEVER TALKED TO HER DAUGHTER AGAIN. JENNIFER WAS SURE HER MOTHERS WORDS WOULD NEVER RING TRUE. SHE HAD FIVE YEARS OF A BEAUTIFUL MARRIAGE THEN THEIR FIRST BORN CHILD SUDDENLY DIED AND HER WHOLE WORLD CHANGED. HER HUSBAND FELT HIS SONS DEATH WAS HIS FAULT AND WAS GONE FOR THREE WEEKS. WHEN HE RETURNED HE WAS A CHANGED MAN AND SHE WAS BACK IN A CONTROLLING RELATIONSHIP AGAIN.THIS TIME SHE HAD CHILDREN TO PROTECT. SHE DREW ON HER INNER STRENGTH AND HANDLED EVERY SITUATION THAT CAME UP. SHE WAS DETERMINED TO SURVIVE AND SOON CHANGED THINGS TO THE BETTER
RELIGION, DRAMA, ROMANCE
In 1914, a young woman defies her controlling mother to elope with her fiancé. Three children soon follow but everything changes after their eldest dies. Blaming himself, the husband turns to drink and then religion, causing his family untold heartache. A stint as a missionary in South American provides adventure and some relief until they return to the Great Depression and struggle to stay afloat. Through it all, our heroine’s grit and determination keep the family together.
Authors Writing Style: FAIR
Franchise Potential: FAIR
Accuracy of Book Profile
No. A more professional logline (short story summary) is needed, as above: "In 1914, a young woman defies her controlling mother to elope with her fiancé. Three children soon follow but everything changes after their eldest dies. Blaming himself, the husband turns to drink and then religion, causing his family untold heartache. A stint as a missionary in South American provides adventure and some relief until they return to the Great Depression and struggle to stay afloat. Through it all, our heroine’s grit and determination keep the family together."
Draw of Story
The character of Jennifer, a spirited and determined young woman willing to fight for what she believes in early 20th century America.
Bill's constant relapses in alcoholism and religious mania become repetitive. One is longing for Jennifer to just dump him and move in with her parents.
Use of Special Effects
THE STORY DOES NOT RELY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS
Primary Hook of Story
A young woman during restrictive social times, determined to carve out a happy life for herself and her family.
Modest. It's a hard-scrabble story audiences can relate to, their ancestors having gone through similar experiences.
Possibly. Although he is often very unsympathetic, Bill's character is a juicy role for an actor.
Similar Films/TV Series
BROOKLYN; WISE BLOOD.
What’s New About the Story
Period setting, a feminist young heroine, their missionary stint in the jungle of South America, a woman's fight to hold her family together. Bill's countless falling off the wagon and heavy religiosity becomes repetitive. Jennifer should put her foot down earlier, or try to.
Jennifer is a strong lead, a rebellious and smart young woman determined to break away from her controlling family and create a warm, happy family. Bill is an anti-hero, often unsympathetic to the point of being loathsome but there's no doubt he's a strong, three-dimensional character.
Uniqueness of Story
The narrative, based on a true story, is original, particularly with the South American mission aspect. Overall, the writing needs better editing, spelling corrections and the dialogue needs to be far less literal. A revised re-publication of the novel would go a long way to better appealing to prospective producers.
Film - Indie, TV Series - Limited Run / Mini-Series, TV Series - Streaming
WORK IN PROGRESS
The writing is fairly amateur, with misused words belying a lack of professionalism or training. Most of all, the dialogue throughout is far too literal: 'I feel so bad about what happened to Andrew. I am wracked with guilt.' The story needs greater emphasis on the emotional aspect of the relationship between Jennifer and Bill, quiet moments when things are said without words, or even with a look.
Tips for Improvement
The novel needs a good editor to lessen the melodrama and make Jennifer's story more convincing. The dialogue could rely more on subtext than literal explanation.
In the 1920s, a rebellious young woman defies her controlling mother to elope with her handsome young husband and embark upon an arduous journey that includes a mission to South America, her husband's volatile mental state and a return home to the Great Depression.
What We Liked
Jennifer is a powerful character whom many will be able to relate to, fighting to break away from the social restrictions of the time and deal with her increasingly difficult and abusive husband, while struggling to keep her family together.
Film: It would make a good stand-alone film about a strong woman fighting to overcome many struggles during early 20th century America.
TV: It would make a great limited series for television, streaming or network. It might do particularly well with faith-based audiences. Jennifer is a strong heroine who leads us through her arduous story.
Key points: Strong heroine. Detailed period setting. Domestic struggle to survive during turbulent times. A four-year-mission in South America. The harsh lessons of the Great Depression.
Pittsburgh, 1914. JENNIFER (21) has grown up in a wealthy but strict Catholic family, particularly her controlling mother FREDA (40s). She has forbidden her to see her boyfriend, BILL RENNIE (21) but they determine to elope and get married. Jennifer’s younger sister, CAROLINE (17) is supportive but glum at the thought of being stuck home alone with her mother. Bill gets a job in Jennifer’s father’s bank and three children soon follow – ANDREW, MARGARET and CASSIE. When Andrew is five, what seems to be an ear infection turns worse and he dies overnight, while Bill has fallen asleep by his bed. Bill blames himself and turns to drink, frustrating Jennifer who has her own devastating grief to deal with. When Bill brings two drunken men home one night and they try to assault her, Bill comes to his senses and sobers up.
A year later, Jennifer is pregnant again and gives birth to JOSEPH. But Bill refuses to acknowledge his child, touch him or even go into the nursery for fear of opening up old wounds over Andrew’s loss. He starts drinking heavily again and accidentally pushes Jennifer who falls and hits her head. She’s concussed and is rushed to hospital unconscious, as she loses the baby. The last straw is when Bill vanishes for week. His abandoned, wrecked car is found. PASTOR MARKUS (40s) turns up one day saying he found Bill naked in an alley, having been beaten and robbed. He took him in and, with his timid wife, nursed him back to health. Markus has his own ‘Savior’s Church’, a holy roller outfit that doesn’t believe in medicine but faith healing.
Bill returns home. By now he’s lost his job but is earning a pittance working for Markus. He’s born again and demands that Jennifer convert from her Catholic faith to his new religion. Jennifer refuses and secretly has Margaret continue with her first communion. However, since Bill drags the children to evening services, Jennifer is forced to accompany them to protect them. Bill forces them all to wear white robes and get dunked in a tank of water to be baptized. Holding Jennifer under, Markus fondles her breast! She is furious.
Jennifer goes into labor but the baby is breech and stillborn. Jennifer is distraught that Bill wouldn’t allow her to call a doctor. In 1925, Markus offers Bill a position as a missionary in Colombia. It’s a five-year-post, running a small church and schooling the villages. To his surprise, Jennifer agrees to go. It’s far better than being intimidated on a daily basis by the odious Markus. It will be an adventure. They pack and she and Bill start learning Spanish. The children are now seven, five and three.
It’s a long, arduous voyage on a merchant tramp steamer where they all get violently seasick during heavy storms. Finally, they arrive at Cartagena and are met by kind EDUARDO (late 20s). It’s another long, uncomfortable horse and carriage ride to the tiny tribal village of twenty-five natives living in straw huts.
Jennifer is appalled at their dirty, broken-down shack where the former pastor and his family lived. It comes with a pet monkey and a pet snake! They clean it up as best they can and Eduardo shows them the outhouse in the jungle, a stream where they can bathe and a waterfall for fresh water.
Despite the hardships, the kids soon take to their new lifestyle, become tanned and resilient. Jennifer and Bill meet CHIEF MELARDO (30s, tall, strong) and are shocked to learn that he has four wives and routinely ‘takes’ other’s babies as his own, considering it as an ‘honor’. He has twenty children.
The church is the best building in the village and Bill preaches sermons and gives Bible study classes – but doesn’t get much respect from the indigenous natives. Meanwhile, with her nursing background, Jennifer runs the small infirmary. She is horrified when her young assistant ROSA (12), who collects medicinal herbs, is raped and strung up by two drunk men. The young men of the village hunt them down and tie them up, covering them with honey and then setting fire ants on them. They die horrible deaths.
After three years of adjusting to their new lifestyle and, Jennifer has to admit, rather loving their new freedom, fresh fruit and making love in a lagoon, she finds herself pregnant. She is appalled when the Chief declares he wants their baby and tells Bill they need to leave. They have no money but luckily, a merchant vessel had just lost their pastor and on-board nurse. They get free passage home. They land in Philadelphia, shocked to find the country in the grip of the Great Depression. They have no money to get home to Pittsburgh and when they call their families, they find Jennifer’s father has lost the bank and Bill’s family have lost their farm. His parents are living in Bill and Jennifer’s former house.
Bill finds a pastor in his church and begs for help. Thankfully, he helps them out by loaning them a constituent’s empty house who has died. It’s beautifully furnished and feels like luxury after their jungle shack. Jennifer gives birth to a baby girl, whom they name FAITH.
Bill ekes out a living doing a bit of work for the church and standing in long unemployment lines waiting to be picked for manual labor jobs. Unable to fend off Bill’s amorous advances one night, Jennifer finds herself pregnant, something she is not happy about in their precarious financial position. When she miscarries, she is almost glad. Although Bill has forbidden her to work, Jennifer gets a position as a private day nurse to MRS. CLANCY (40s) who suffers from polio. Her husband, MR. CLANCY, is wealth and generous, paying Jennifer well and dropping round baskets of food and clothing. Bill is becoming more and more unstable, now sermonizing hellfire and brimstone on the street. Jennifer is the main breadwinner. She is increasingly fed up with irresponsible Bill, and furious when he starts beating his children for listening to ‘sinful’ music.
Additionally, overweight CLAUDIA (40s), a widow and church piano player, is smitten by Bill and drugs his tea after evening service. When he offers her a ride home and then collapses at her house, he ends up passing out for the night while she has her way with him. It takes him weeks to figure out what’s going on, and it’s his boss, the Reverend, who realizes what’s happening. He finds Bill at Claudia’s house and a bottle of sedative. He fires her. Claudia won’t leave Bill alone and physically confronts him on the street. Bill asks for help from a passing cop and she is arrested.
Jennifer falls deathly ill with pneumonia and, with Bill not being around, the children call Mr. Clancy. He rushes her to hospital where she barely survives. Bill is furious that he took her to see a ‘forbidden’ doctor but Clancy reprimands him, telling him Jennifer would have died without medical intervention. The hospital bill is $800! Mr. Clancy pays it and tells Jennifer her job will be waiting for her after she has rested for several weeks and regained her strength.
When Bill continues to try and control her, Jennifer finally puts her foot down and tells him she will keep going to her church, keep going to her job, see doctors when she needs and that she and the children will enjoy the radio, music and the movies. If he doesn’t like it, he can leave. Bill comes to his senses and realizes he has to stop trying to drag her into his Puritan religious values. He agrees to change.