Adventures with Chuck Johnson the DILF

The book I will be recapping today is the YA Christian fiction novel Elizabeth Gail and Trouble from the Past. I LOVED Elizabeth Gail books in second grade, and I do feel that despite all the Jesus talk, they are among the more well written YA books. Well here it be!


Libby is about to get a new teacher. Libby hopes this teacher doesn’t have anything against ” aid kids.” Libby then has to remind herself that she is NOT an aid kid and that Vera and Chuck Johnson will be adopting Libby very soon!  The teacher is named Mr. Wright and he looks very stern.  Libby then sees a new boy in class- Jerry Grosbeck- he has that same scar and slightly longer hair that she remembers.  Meanwhile, this girl Joanne Tripper is all telling Libby ” I am better at everything than you are” because Joanne was able to diagram sentences for the teacher and is all flipping her hair around. One can already see that this girl is a real bitch- but who is Jerry Grosbeck?

Well Jerry and Libby lived in a foster home together over two years. Jerry is upset because Libby used to always beat him up. Libby tells Jerry he deserved it because Jerry would always tattletale on Libby so that her foster mother would beat her, and then Jerry would also take Libby’s food around so that Libby would go hungry.  Jerry then tells Libby he wants the bronze medal that his father gave him that Libby took from him.  Libby says she thought she gave the medal back to Jerry but Jerry said that Mrs. Miller took him to another foster home before Libby could give the medal back. Libby tells Jerry that she will see if she can find the medal among her things.  Jerry says that she better find that medal because it’s the only thing he has left of his father. Libby says she is sorry for taking the medal.  Jerry remarks that Libby seems very different. Then April and May Brakie ( see a previous posting on another Elizabeth Gail book I reviewed to read about good old April and May) come to get Libby for lunch.  The girls go to sit with Susan for lunch and Susan asks Libby who that boy was.  April and May explain that Jerry is an aid kid and he is upset that Libby took his medal. April says that Jerry thinks that if he has the medal his father will come back for him. Libby says that will never happen, and Jerry overhears her. Jerry screams that Libby is a stupid ” aid kid” ( I am hating that expression) and she doesn’t know anything.  Then as the lunch supervisor takes Jerry away for all the yelling, Joanne comes over to the table and says ” Oh Libby you are much better at making trouble than I am.”  Susan tells Joanne to buzz off.

In the bathroom, Joanne goes up to Libby and tells her that she wants Libby to give up piano lessons with Rachel Avery so that Joanne can take lessons from Rachel instead.  Libby says no and Joanne says that she MUST take piano lessons from Rachel because ” Momma” says she has to because Rachel is the best, and an ” aid kid” doesn’t deserve to take lessons with a famous pianist. You know what? I knew foster kids when I was in school,  and I don’t recall that they were treated differently than any other kids in the school. One girl I knew that was in foster care even did some modeling for catalogs. But I digress ( as usual).  Joanne then says to Libby that she will do whatever it takes for Libby to drop out of piano lessons so that Joanne can take the lessons instead.  Joanne says her mother will tell Rachel about Libby’s ” real” mom Marie Dobbs. God I hate this kid Joanne- just take piano lessons from someone else you cunt.  Libby tells Joanne that Rachel already knows about Marie Dobbs, Libby’s bio mom and that Joanne’s mom can’t do anything to make Libby stop taking lessons.  Joanne then grabs Libby’s arm and Libby says she won’t fight with her- why not punch this bitch’s ass OUT! Screw what Jesus would say I am sure he won’t mind.  Well, Joanne keeps calling Libby ” aid kid” so Libby pulls Joanne’s hair. Joanne slaps Libby back. Then Mr. Wright comes out asking what is going on.  Joanne claims Libby started the fight.  Libby gets tears in her eyes but can’t speak. Mr. Wright says Libby is just intent on causing trouble and asks if Libby would like that he call her parents to report this behavior.  Mr. Wright then says he won’t report this today but if either girl is caught fighting again they will be sent to the principal’s office.  Then Libby bumps into Jerry and he says that Libby better have his medal. Libby says she hopes she doesn’t have the medal and even if she does she will never give it to Jerry!  Jerry then yells back that he hopes Libby never gets adopted!  In another class, Joanne tells the teacher to seat Jerry next to Libby because they are such good friends. So the teacher does so, and then Jerry drops a paper with a bad word on it in front of Libby’s feet. ( dude come on he should have done that Welcome to the Dollhouse move Brandon does where he keeps mouthing ” fucking whore” to Dawn Weiner).  The teacher, Mr. Coon, sees the paper and tells Libby he’d think she’d have better ways to occupy her time. Libby worries that Mr. Coon, who is a Christian and a friend of Chuck’s, will tell Chuck about the bad word on the paper.  Libby thinks that she has to do something terrible to get even with Joanne and Jerry!

Libby gets a letter from Mark McCall, a boy from Nebraska that Libby met when the Johnson family went there last summer. Mark says that Old Zeb goes to church with the family a lot and he is even friends with Nolen Brown. Kevin and Toby say they hope they can all go to Nebraska this coming summer.  Chuck is unable to have dinner with the family tonight due to work. Libby is upset about that as dinner is always better with Chuck there. He reads the Bible to the kids after dinner and sometimes Vera reads a book. It’s never the same at dinner without Chuck around. Chuck gets home just as Libby and Susan finish washing the dishes.  Libby then goes to play Clue with Kevin, Ben, Toby and Susan. Libby notices her homework is missing. Kevin says he thought those were old papers and he threw them into the fire. Libby goes apeshit and screams that Kevin should do all her homework for her now. Chuck hears the yelling and asks what is going wrong.  Ben explains, and Chuck says he knows Libby is very upset, but she has to redo the homework. Chuck also says Libby has to forgive Kevin for burning the homework, but Libby has no intention of doing so. Jerry shoots rubber bands at Libby and trips her. Libby is trying to remember that God is always with her, and she wants to be a good kid that loves Jesus and tries to act as Jesus would and not as the old Libby Dobbs that Jerry once knew.  Libby then remembers she at first found the Johnsons very weird for believing in Christ. Libby accepted the Lord as her personal Savior now that she lives with the Johnsons, and Chuck has told Libby that her old self is now dead and she is new in the eyes of Christ. Libby wonders if Jerry has brought back her old self. Libby sees Jerry hanging out with kids who peddle drugs. Libby hopes Jerry won’t get into drugs. Libby asks if she can talk to Jerry alone. Libby tells Jerry drugs are bad for him.  Jerry asks why does Libby care. Libby then says she will look for the medal and will give it to Jerry on Monday if she finds it and she says she was sorry she was mean to Jerry. Jerry says he ” doesn’t get it” and Libby says she is different because she is a Christian and she goes to church now.  Jerry says that’s a crock and Libby will do whatever it takes to get adopted and she doesn’t really believe in Jesus. Libby says that is not true. Jerry says he lived with a Christian family for two months and they beat him every day and more on Sundays, and Mrs. Blevins took him out of that home and tells him never to trust Christians. Libby says not all Christians are bad and Chuck told her that people may say they are Christian but if they are not trying to live like Christ they are fooling themselves.  Jerry says he doesn’t want to hear the Christian mess and just wants his medal back. Then Joanne says she saw Libby near Ralph Bauer ( aka a drug pusher) and she will tell Mr. Page Libby was buying drugs.  Libby says Joanne better not dare because that is a lie!  Joanne says ” Momma” says ” aid kids” always use drugs and then if she tells Mr. Page about the drugs Libby will no longer get to take lessons from Rachel Avery.  Libby says she has to find a way for Joanne to stop threatening her.

At Rachel Avery’s house, Rachel says Libby did well and she hopes that Libby is even better next week- unless she is not coming back. Libby asks Rachel where she heard that, and Rachel says she heard Libby may be quitting.  Libby says that is not the case, and Rachel says Joanne’s mom called and said Libby would be quitting. Rachel says to try not to be too hard on Joanne because Joanne wants to be a concert pianist just as Libby does, and Joanne’s mom is pushing her hard- maybe too hard.  Libby asks Rachel if she will ever perform again. Rachel says she thinks about it sometimes, but Rachel has chosen to be a wife and mother now, and she would not trade her baby boy for any amount of applause in the world. Rachel says she is aware that other women are able to be both musicians and moms, but Rachel doesn’t have the energy to do both, so Rachel chose to teach piano instead. Libby says her dream is to be a concert pianist and she will never let go of that dream and never be married! Rachel says she used to think the same thing, but then a ” bigger dream” of being a wife and mom came along.  Rachel also says other women combine music careers with good marriages but Rachel just couldn’t do that. Rachel also says Libby is just twelve and has a lot of years to think about her future.  Rachel then tells Libby to tell Joanne to find another teacher.   When Vera picks Libby up, Vera announces that Ben is going to have a boy he made friends with in school come over for the weekend. Chuck says he is going to take the kids all for a ride on the wagon with the horses Jack and Dan. Libby says she would like that.

Well Ben’s new friend is Jerry! Jerry asks what Libby is doing there and Libby says she lives with Ben and his family.  Jerry starts sqawking about the medal again.  The medal is in Libby’s secret drawer but Libby wants to taunt Jerry a little more until she gives him the medal.  Vera asks Libby how she and Jerry know each other, and Libby says they lived in the same foster home and Jerry was mean to Libby and she doesn’t like having Jerry around to remind her of the past. Vera says she and Libby will discuss this later.  Ben then tells Libby not to be mean to Jerry again because he needs friends.  Susan then asks why Libby hates Jerry so much and Libby says she doesn’t want to talk about it. Jerry asks about the medal AGAIN- Libby says it’s in her box but she will get the medal when she is good and ready!  Ben tells Libby to get the medal because Jerry’s dad is coming back for him and he will want to see the medal.  Libby and Jerry go to her room to get the medal but Libby can’t find the directions to open the box. Jerry says he will smash the box to get the medal and Libby says he can’t because her bio dad gave her that box. Jerry says his dad gave him the medal and he needs it. Libby says if he waits a bit she will have Chuck open the box when he gets home.

Libby goes to visit Grandma Feuder.  She’s not really Libby’s grandma just a special old lady who gave Libby a teddy bear.  As Grandma Feuder and Libby have cocoa and chocolate chip cookies, Libby tells her about Jerry Grosbeck and how sometimes she feels like punching him and other times she wants to help him.  Grandma Feuder says it sounds like the old Elizabeth is at war with the new Elizabeth, and that Libby has to bury her ” old self” and turn her life to Christ and be as Christlike as possible as the Bible says. Grandma Feuder tells Libby to pray to God to make her as Christlike as possible, and the rest will fall into place.  Grandma Feuder tells Libby she has to decide if being like Jesus or hurting Jerry is more important to her.  Libby says she wants to be like Jesus and Grandma Feuder says that means that Libby has to learn to love and forgive Jerry. Libby wonders how she can love and forgive Jerry when he caused her to get beaten and starved.  Then we get ANOTHER speech about how Grandma Feuder had only wanted to be a wife and mother all her life, and it’s great that Libby wants to be a concert pianist, but if a good man comes along to not reject that man because of her dreams and Libby can be both a pianist and a mother. Grandma Feuder then says that being a good wife and mom is just as good a dream as being a pianist. OK OK- God must we hammer this idea into the brain of 8 and 9 year olds? I don’t deny that being a wife and mother must be heavenly, but what is wrong with having other dreams? There are women who do choose not to marry or have kids because they want to totally be into their careers. OK I am digressing again.  Grandma Feuder then tells Libby that Jerry’s dream is for his dad to come back, and he will be devestated if that doesn’t happen unless he gets another dream. She then suggests that Libby can tell Jerry that Chuck and Vera and the family can pray with Jerry for his father to return.

Libby decides to find the directions to open the box to get Jerry’s medal. Libby can’t find the box and it turns out Kevin took it for some odd reason. Libby is mad at Kevin but agrees not to tell on him, and he tells Libby he will give the box back.  Libby gets the box and finally opens it, and gives Jerry his medal.  Jerry says to Libby he is sorry that Libby starved because he would take her food at Mrs. Adair’s foster home.  Libby says she forgives Jerry.  Jerry then tells Libby he is glad Libby is in such a great family and he’d love to be in this family but his father is coming back for him.  After church on Sunday, ( which Jerry attends in Ben’s clothes so that he won’t have to wear rags) Susan tells Libby she finds Jerry cute, and she will date boys as soon as she is allowed!  Susan is so going to be a cocktease like Jess Wakefield when she is older.  Jerry has a great time with the Johnsons at dinner, and Susan says that when she gets more money from selling Christmas trees with Ben, she will buy new clothes. Chuck says Susan should save it for college like Ben is and Susan says she will never go to college. Chuck says Susan may change her mind. After dinner, Chuck tells Libby that he and Jerry prayed for Jerry’s father to come back. Jerry is not sure it will work,  but he figured if praying helped Libby it would help him.  Chuck says Jerry needs to know their love ( as in Chuck, Libby and the Johnson fam’s love) and God’s love.  After their talk, Libby is determined that she will talk about God with Jerry.

Libby can’t find the letter she wrote Mark McCall. Libby goes up to Jerry at school when he is with Ralph. Jerry says not to bother him when he is with Ralph, and Libby says she wants to know where her letter went.  Libby says she wants the letter RIGHT NOW after Jerry says he will keep it as long as he wants.  Jerry then says he knew Libby was the same ornery girl as always and  she hadn’t changed.  Jerry then pushes Libby into a closet and closes the door after Libby chooses not to fight back.  Then Joanne opens the closet door.  Joanne says she told Mr. Wright that Libby and Jerry were both buying drugs from Ralph. Mr Wright then asks Libby if she is working to get herself expelled. Libby says she and Jerry weren’t buying drugs from Jerry, and Jerry says Libby wouldn’t buy drugs because she is a Christian.  Jerry says that Joanne just wants to get Libby in trouble because Libby won’t drop piano lessons, and that Mr. Wright can search both Jerry and Libby if he wants.  Mr, Wright tells Joanne not to spread rumors and he will drop this matter for now. He tells Libby she should be glad for a friend like Jerry.  Jerry then tells Libby he doesn’t know where the letter is and he didn’t mean to lock Libby in that room. He then admits that he did buy drugs from Ralph to try them and Libby says ( oh how PSA of her!) that God can help Jerry, not drugs!  Jerry  is afraid of what Ralph may do and Libby says she and Ben can beat Ralph up if he tries to mess with Jerry!

After school, Joanne says she told Ralph that Jerry turned him in for selling drugs. I hate this Joanne bitch. Libby decides to round up Ben, Kevin, Toby, Joe and Brenda ( friends of Ben and Libby), April and May and Libby’s best friend Adam to go help Jerry. Ben and Libby find Ralph and they grab Ralph by the hair and get him off Jerry. Jerry has a bloody nose.  Libby tells Ralph that all those kids are Jerry’s friends and if Ralph ever tries to sell Jerry drugs or cause him trouble, he will have to answer to all of them! Ralph runs off.  Jerry then has to run to catch the bus or he will be late.  Libby is afraid of what may happen to Jerry if he is late- what if his foster parents are types that send him to bed with no food or beat him for being late?  Ben says that all of them should pray for Jerry and that he will not have anything bad happen to him.  Vera also says she found the letter Libby wrote to Mark. 

Libby goes out to the barn and swears she sees Jerry run off from there. May and April followed her out there and Libby says what she saw. May wants to know if Libby thinks Jerry ran away the way April and May did to get away from the man who sexually abused them.  Libby tells Jerry to come out and he does come out from  a hiding place in the barn. Jerry is bruised from head to toe and has a cut lip. Turns out that Jerry’s own father beat him up like that after Jerry finally located his father. Jerry’s dad said to leave him alone and beat him up when Jerry wouldn’t do so. How sick is that?  Libby says now Jerry can open up to love another family. Jerry says he will stay in the barn and be with this family as they are the only ones with love. Jerry also says he is afraid the Johnsons will turn him in. April tells Jerry the Johnsons won’t abandon him until they know he will be OK. 

Chuck ends up calling Jerry’s foster parents the McAlvys. Chuck, the McAlvys, and Jerry all talk in his study and Jerry agrees to try to let the McAlvys love him for a trial run. Chuck says he knows the family well but Jerry has to try to accept their love.

At school Libby tells Joanne she will no longer accept Joanne threatening her into quitting piano lessons. Libby says she will have her mom Vera call Joanne’s mother if she does not quit it. Also, Miss Morrison, Libby’s teacher is back! No more Mr. Wright. Jerry comes into school with a nice haircut and new clothes. Susan asks who got Jerry the new clothes and Jerry says his foster parents had bought them but Jerry had refused to wear them until now. Jerry says to Libby and Susan that he prayed to God and has accepted Him as his Savior and Jerry is no longer ” the old Jerry. ” Sha la la la.

By Tuesday or Wednesday, I will have a Sweet Valley Kids recap for you dears.  And coming soon-

Sweet Valley High- Perfect Summer

SVU Thriller- Love and Murder

Gymnasts #10- Boys in the Gym

BSC #49- Claudia and the Genius of Elm Street

Sleepover Friends #6- Kate’s Camp Out

Freshman Dorm #4- Freshman Nights


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