As the Sycamore Grows book cover with awards, Ginger's story, told by Jennie

Reviews and Recognition

As The Sycamore Grows


“Jennie Helderman has taken a heart-breaking issue and boiled it down to human beings, of flesh and blood and lost days and fearful nights. It opens the door on a too-common human story, and closes you in with it.”Rick Bragg, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Most They Ever Had, All Over But the Shouting, Ava’s Man, and The Prince of Frogtown.


“Rarely has a story of a woman’s courageous fight for freedom been told in such an eloquent and moving way. And, even more unusual, we get an open view into the twisted mentality of a man who was able, like so many abusers, to convince the outside world that he was normal. A hard book to put down.”

Lundy Bancroft, author of Why Does He Do That? and co-author of Should I Stay or Should I Go


“This is a page turner! A powerful portrayal of mind control!

Patricia Evans, author of Controlling People


“This story grabs hold of your heart and squeezes it dry. It is a tale so touching, so emotionally overwhelming, women will cringe and thank God they never had to walk in Ginger’s shoes, and men will wish they could have met Ginger’s husband in a dark alley. I applaud author Jennie Helderman’s gift for writing, I marvel at Ginger’s courage for sharing it.”

Jedwin Smith, two-time Pulitzer Prize nominee, author of Our Brother’s Keepers and Fatal Treasure


“This amazing chronicle of a courageous woman’s escape from a life of poverty, squalor, and domestic violence should attract many, many readers. It should also be a contender for awards.”

Julia Oliver, author of Devotion, winner of the 2007 John Esten Cooke Award for Southern Fiction


“Jennie Helderman did her research for As the Sycamore Grows, and it shows!  …an accurate and compelling account…a valuable resource.”

Linda Busby Parker, author of Seven Laurels, winner of the James Jones Award and the Langum Prize for Historical Fiction


“I read As the Sycamore Grows in one sitting….It illustrates how all domestic violence cases are similar and how each one is totally unique. Ginger’s courage and strength, and her ultimate triumph, shine a light for other battered women seeking freedom from violence for themselves and their children.”    

Carol Gundlach, Executive Director, Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence


“Helderman portrays in poignant detail the intricacies of domestic downfall through dialogue. As the Sycamore Grows explores the complex and evolving nature of a relationship unable to help itself; of two people spiraling slowly—almost inexorably—toward disaster. Helderman illuminates the compounding nature of isolated incidents and arguments, providing the reader with an introspective look at how abusive behavior can accumulate to foment domestic misery.”      

Representative Cynthia Thielen, Co-Chair, Women’s Caucus, Hawaii State Legislature



What’s the media saying?


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