In real life, I have the privilege of knowing author Candice Curry as a fellow contributor at Alamo City Moms Blog. For months, I anticipated the arrival on my doorstep of my pre-ordered copy of The Con Man’s Daughter: A Story of Lies, Desperation, and Finding God, Candice’s memoir. Now, all readers have the opportunity to dive into her life story—a series of unbearable burdens that she somehow navigates with a mixture of misadventure, grace, and humor.
My goal with this review is to show you enough of the book so that you feel you have to read the whole thing, but not so much that you feel you don’t have to read it for yourself. So, here are my nine favorite quotes from the book, with a little context so you know why they moved me—sometimes to laughter, sometimes to tears.
“There was an angel and a devil perched on either of my shoulders, and far too many times the screech of the devil pounded in my ears, making it impossible to hear the sweet whispers of my angel” (p. 37).
This quote made me laugh (inappropriately) because it reminded me of a conversation that Candice and I had with several other contributors. This team of bloggers has grown into our own little support network. We turn to each other for advice to navigate life’s hiccups and train wrecks. How should we respond to challenges? When life throws a grenade into your carefully-laid plans, do you (mentally) pull out a shank? Or practice perspective-taking and interest-based negotiation? I’m not saying one is always better than the other . . . we just have our different instincts and preferences.
“My daughter changed me in more ways than I ever expected. She gave me a purpose and made me a better person. She taught me how to be nice and how to make sacrifices I never wanted to make. She showed me that it’s okay not to always be right” (p. 90).
Reading this passage made me tear up and nod my head so hard. My firstborn, F.T., totally changed the way I look at the world. It astonishes me how such an imperfect person as me can create children who have so much joy to give the world.
“Am I in trouble for praying too hard?” (p. 104).
Candice’s eldest child’s reaction to the news that Candice was pregnant with triplets. I snort-laughed. Her discovery of that pregnancy was a roller coaster. I won’t give any more of it away.
“I gave everything that I had to our children and completely neglected him as a man. I failed him as a wife, and even though I knew I was doing it, I didn’t know how to change it. I had made him feel small and insignificant” (p. 109).
When my children were newborns, I was terrified, and my head was in a constant fog of sleep deprivation. How do you transition out of that mindset to a place where your partner feels valued and included, both as a father and as the guy you dated and married? Reading Candice’s account helped me forgive myself for some of my stumbles and embarrassments as a stressed-out wife.
“My instinct had always been to run, even when I knew I was in the wrong, and never back down or admit my faults. But God was about to teach me how to be a humble and forgiving wife, and I was terrified” (p. 113).
The younger me, who got married in 2005, was sort of an entitled jerk. I’m happy and thankful that my husband and I have made it this far. If you understand that marriage is not a meet-in-the-middle proposition but both sides giving 100 percent, then you will appreciate this passage of Candice’s story.
“It takes a true narcissist to think you can manipulate that many people, including the one who knew most of your secrets, into thinking you are something different from what you really are” (p. 129).
The titular con man—Candice’s charming but toxic father—returns late in the book for a stunning courtroom showdown. Her courage is remarkable.
“My siblings were too little to move out of his line of fire, but I wasn’t. I was big enough to pick them up and move them to safety” (p. 129).
Candice loves life, but she is also one of the most giving people I know. There is always room in her heart and in her house (or, really, cul-de-sac) for family members who need shelter and love.
“Whoever coined the phrase, ‘God only gives you what you can handle’ is a liar. Life gives you more than you can handle, and that’s why we need God. In the midst of my pain and pleading, he started putting my biggest hurts back in front of my face and making me come to terms with them. . . . My pain was in the feeling of worthlessness. I forgave with ease; why couldn’t my heart heal at the same pace?” (p. 172).
Not only was Candice’s father a con man, but he had sinister friends who cast a long shadow on her life. An accidental encounter with of these spooks turned into a surprising opportunity for self-healing.
“God whispered in my ear, ‘Share your story and I will redeem it all'” (p. 179).
After that encounter with someone who had hurt Candice so many years ago, she pledged to write the manuscript that became this book.
I am so glad she did because now I can hold this volume full of hurts-too-much laughter and cleansing tears in my own two hands. The whole world, all of us imperfect wives-mothers-daughters, can learn from her tale. I triple dog dare you to not read the whole book in one night, like I did.