How would you live if you lost your hands? Could you feed yourself? Clean yourself? What about opening a door? How would you dress yourself, or tie your shoes? Would everyone you ever loved consider you a freak? A monster?
Pamela Ruka knows the answers to these questions, and more. When she was six years old, she lost her hands in the accident that claimed her mother’s life.
She is taken in by a grandfather who holds her hostage for eight years, hoping for insurance money to pay his mounting gambling debts. He locks her in his Albuquerque home, hiding her from the world, and making her eat off the floor like a dog.
In those years when other kids are in school learning to play games, Pamela stays home alone and compensates for her lost hands by studying patterns, learning to anticipate and avoid what she cannot control. Through a series of adventures Pamela grows from a helpless orphan into an independent young woman who transforms her handicap into the ability to interact with computers in ways that save lives.
Review by Michael Bellomo “mbellomo” (Los Angeles, CA)
Fourteen year-old Pamela Ruka is a veritable innocent, a sweet girl who lives with her grandfather. But not is all as it seems. We find out that Pamela’s lost both of her hands in a tragic accident. Her grandfather treats her as little more than a marker for potential insurance money, and locks her in the house each and every day.
…and then we learn out that she has a strange gift for picking out patterns. A gift that allows her to pick out the winning racehorses…and lead to her liberation from her tragically shut-in life.
‘The Hands of God’ doesn’t follow a path that one expects. There’s something for everyone – heart-tugging scenes of friendship and family, tension-filled chases, a dash of speculative science, and ultimately, an exploration of God’s purpose for all of us.
Review by Miriam Walker
An extraordinary story about an extraordinary young woman – *****
A teen that lost her hands at an early age in a tragic accident, Pamela Ruka has a gift of seeing things in a special way that allows her to pick the winners in horse races–and this gift ultimately sets her upon a course that transforms her life. This gift also brings a steady stream of characters into Pamela’s life—some good and some not so good–that all play their part in her journey from living as a hostage in her abusive grandfather’s home to a young woman determined—and able—to help others.
The trait that touched me the most about Pamela is her indomitable spirit in spite of setbacks, intense physical and medical struggles, and the constant reality that she is viewed as a freak instead of a human being like everyone else. No victim here, Pamela walks bravely and with great faith through the fire that could have destroyed her into an inspiring life of purpose and passion.
The Hands of God . . . truly a story of courage and triumph that will leave you pondering its message long after you finish the book.
Review By Laura Ware
It is said that God gives us gifts to use for His glory. There are times, however, that we look with longing at what we cannot do and ignore the abilities we’ve been given. And what if we’re dealt a devastating handicap? Could we possibly look past it and make use of the gifts we have been granted.
One answer to this question is found in Gerald Weinberg’s excellent book, “The Hands of God.” Pamela Ruka is a teenage girl who lost her hands in a horrific accident years before. She lives with her alcoholic grandfather, who sees her as little more than a ticket to a big monetary win in court. She spends her days at home, locked inside when she is alone.
But Pamela has a unique gift. She can see patterns where no one else can. She first uses this ability to pick winning horses in races, which brings her to the attention of her grandfather’s bookie, West, one of several interesting characters that populate this novel.
But Weinberg doesn’t leave us in a simple story about gambling on the ponies. He shows us that Pamela’s gift has a number of applications – some more life-changing than others. Throw in some speculative technology and some unexpected twists and turns and you have a page-turner of a tale that explores what we do with the gifts God gives to us.
I found myself rooting for Pamela as she struggled to chart her own path in a world where everyone else had a plan for her. For a great story with a Christian message that will keep you engaged from beginning to end, I recommend “The Hands of God.”
Review by Susan J. Hidley (Virginia
Gerald Weinberg, the author of best-selling books dealing with the interface of human behavior and technology, now brings his impressive knowledge not just of technology but of the human heart to a work of fiction. The Hands of God tells the story of Pamela Ruka, a fourteen year-old girl who has lost both her hands in a tragic accident. Early on, Pamela, recounting the minister’s weekly sermon says, “He said that the only sin was pretending we didn’t have a choice. I think he was looking straight at me.” That theme echoes throughout the book as Pamela fights to find her own way, often in harrowing situations, in a world where she’s regarded as a freak. Through her story, Weinberg gives us fascinating speculations as to how medical and engineering technology combined with social will might help people like Pamela. A book rich with ideas, information and compassion.
Review by Dennis Cadena (San Antonio, TX USA)
The time demands / Strong minds, great hearts, true faith, and willing hands – Josiah Gilbert Holland
Many technologists employ in their work the notion of a “just noticeable difference.” But how do we react, and how should we react, when confronting a highly noticeable difference in another human being? And how can or should that other human being react to our reactions? These intriguing questions about individual differences to individual differences embody the heart of the engaging and thought-provoking novel “The Hands of God” by Gerald M. Weinberg. The young protagonist in the novel, Pamela, lost both hands as a very young child in a horrific accident that killed her mother. Left to be raised by an abusive, belittling grandfather, who attempts to keep Pamela hidden from the world, she nevertheless learns how to cope with her situation. Even more importantly, she learns to develop a surprisingly unique set of talents in her isolation.
It is Pamela’s burgeoning gifts that are the basis of her eventual escape from her hostile home, embarking her on an adventure outside the narrow world she inhabited for so much of her life. There she meets many different people, some of whom treat her with great respect, some who do not, but each of whom have their own ideas about what Pamela should be doing with her developing abilities – abilities on which an ever-expanding set of people come to place critical and even life-and-death importance. How Pamela learns to cope with these pressured-filled situations, learns true discernment, and learns personal responsibility with respect to her own destiny constitutes the major arc of this tale. “The Hands of God” is a story that, via intriguing and unconventional characters and unexpected situations, does what only the best kind of story can do: help a reader see that each of us is different in our own way and must learn to cope with those differences in the most humanly authentic manner we can. As such, I enthusiastically recommend “The Hands of God” to readers young and old alike. It is an inspiring tale that will truly captivate your heart and mind and soul.