Review – The Past Ever Present

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About the Book

Book: The Past Ever Present

Author: Debra Coleman Jeter

Genre: Memoir

Release Date: August, 2020

The past cover

A fly-on-the-wall account of making a television show, and a great examination of country living in the first half of the twentieth century, The Past Ever Present revolves around the relationship between a boy and his grandfather. When Clay is cast as a regular in the TV series Christy, his grandfather Clifton serves as his on-set guardian. The series is set in a poor farm community, which is eerily similar to the one where Clifton grew up. Being on the set of the show provides a dramatic transformation for both, as Clay comes of age and Clifton comes to terms with his past.

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My Review

Jeter, Debra Coleman. The Past Ever Present. 2006, 2020.

The Past Ever Present by Debra Jeter is a book for those who loved the television series Christy. I’ll admit I’ve watched most of the episodes multiple times and I remembered many scenes as they were portrayed in The Past Ever Present. 

Debra Jeter is the mother of Clay Jeter who played Creed Allen on the show. The story is told from the perspective of Clay and his grandfather Clifton who served as Clay’s guardian on the set. All of Clay’s sections take place in 1993-1994. Clifton’s sections take place during the show (1993-1994) and during his childhood (1930’s and 1940’s). I appreciated reading of the Christian faith of Clay and his family which based much of their worldview. 

One thing I wish Debra Jeter had done was to include an afterword, epilogue, or additional chapter that tells what happened to Clay after Christy ended. From an internet search I know that he remained involved in the entertainment industry and it would have been nice to see a little of that included in the book.

The Past Ever Present would be a great addition to a k-12 Christian school library. It would be appropriate for grade 5 and up and would be a great memoir/biography for an older elementary or middle schooler to read. It would also be a great read for a child who dreams of being an actor.

I received a complimentary copy of The Past Ever Present. This is my honest review. 

About the Author

Jeter Glasses

Debra Coleman Jeter has published in popular magazines, including Working Woman, New Woman, Self, Home Life, SavvyChristian Woman, and American Baby. Her first novel, The Ticket, was a finalist for a Selah Award, and her most recent, Song of Sugar Sands, a finalist for a 2020 Next Generation Indie Book Award. Her short story, “Recovery,” won first prize in a competition sponsored by Christian Woman; and her book The Past Ever Present (originally published as Pshaw, It’s Me Grandson) was a finalist in the USA Book News Awards. She is a co-writer of the screenplay for Jess + Moss, a feature film which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, screened at nearly forty film festivals around the world, and captured several international awards.

As the mother of Clay Jeter and the daughter of Clifton Coleman, Debra Coleman Jeter is uniquely qualified to tell their story.

More from Debra

For those of you familiar with Catherine Marshall’s novel Christy or with the two-season CBS television series based on that novel, The Past Ever Present should feel like an old friend. For those of you not familiar with Christy, consider The Past Ever Present an introduction to something you are bound to love.

I remember the day my son Clay was invited to audition for a television show called Christy. I did not make the connection, though I had read Christy years earlier. Then he was invited for a call-back in Townsend, Tennessee. It was there we first realized Kellie Martin (star of Life Goes On) had been cast as Christy; she was there that day, and Clay recognized her. Then I had a chance to read a section of the script, and I recognized the story, to my delight.

If you haven’t read Christy, you should. It is simply wonderful. If you love it, or if you are interested in true tales about child actors (my son Clay), or about growing up during the Great Depression (my dad Cliff Coleman), I hope you’ll love The Past Ever Present. The book was a finalist in the USA Book News Awards.

Clay is cast as a regular in the series Christy, filmed in the hills of eastern Tennessee, at the age of nine. Much of the usual struggle for recognition and approval associated with the Hollywood industry finds its way to this isolated mountain community.  Because both Clay’s parents are working full time, his grandfather Clifton serves as Clay’s guardian. The television series being filmed is set in a poor farm community, much like the one where Clifton grew up. The show brings back memories for Clifton and, while Clay is working, he watches and remembers. The book highlights parallels between Clay’s antics and Clifton’s memories of his own, in addition to the parallels between the characters and their adventures in Christy and those in Clifton’s past.

Blog Stops

Ashley’s Bookshelf, December 8

Inklings and notions, December 9

Library Lady’s Kid Lit, December 10

Blossoms and Blessings, December 11 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, December 11

For Him and My Family, December 12

deb’s Book Review, December 13

Sara Jane Jacobs, December 14

Stories By Gina, December 15 (Author Interview)

Locks, Hooks and Books, December 15

Artistic Nobody, December 16 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 17

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, December 18

Spoken from the Heart, December 19 (Author Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, December 20

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 21

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Debra is giving away the grand prize package of a $20 Starbucks gift card and a signed copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

https://promosimple.com/ps/10465/the-past-ever-present-celebration-tour-giveaway

You can purchase books at: (affiliate links)

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3 comments

  1. Thanks so much for having me on your blog today, for your kind review, and for everyone who visits. I hope you will publish your review on Amazon and or Goodreads if you have time. I agree that I should have included an epilogue. Thanks again!

    Liked by 1 person

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