Saturday, January 3, 2009

Book Review #4

Stuck in the Middle
by Virginia Smith

This is the first book in a series of three. To be honest, I passed it over my first time through the bookstore. The cover looked a little too "teenage romance" for me. The back didn't really grab me, either, but on my second trip in, I picked it up.

This one is an easy read, a basic Christian romance fiction that lets you escape into another world for a few hours. Not any spectacular writing or deep themes. No suffering or answering deep questions.

Despite my low expectations, I was surprised by it. It is actually a decent book for its type. Instead of being set in a historical era as is typical with these, it is set in today, in a normal setting. No unbelievable events happen to make this story exciting and catch your attention, but the story itself is well-written.

Instead of the typical "boy meets girl, and one is not a believer, and they fall in love and the one gets saved and they live happily ever after" story line (which, by the way, is a huge problem to me with a book. Why is that fine in novels and bad in real life?), this book has a different version. In this book, the story between the characters is a deeper question. Less of basic salvation, and more on people's view of God, and God calling them to something deeper, out of their normal church experience. I appreciated the fresh take on it.

All that to say this book of which I had really low expectation ranked rather high in its class - what I would label "mindless Christian novels" (I know, I know, I am rather rude in my description, but what would you call this genre of book? The ones we read just to relax, not to learn, not to grow, but just to have a break?) Good thought, good dialog, and low on sappiness. No crazy plots, no over the top romance, just a normal life, normal family and an interesting story with some good Christian thoughts on the side.

It is yours for the asking.


junglewife said...

Oooh, me me me! I'd love to read it! I agree with you on the "mindless Christian fiction" thing, but then again, don't we all need some of that every once in a while?

There was a while when we were living "temporarily" (for about 6 months) in our mission's guesthouse before we moved up to Wamena, and I got desperate for reading material. There wasn't much on those old bookshelves in the guesthouse, and I ended up reading a LOT of old Grace Livingston Hill and the like. Talk about mindless Christian fiction!!!

Karis said...

Your post made me "hungry" for an escape book -- I know just the kind of book you mean. You are reminding me of how much I love to read. I'd kinda' forgotten in the craziness of life with deputation and now language learning. After our days of French tutoring are over, I'm going to dive into a good book. Not that I don't have any free time because I allow myself short amounts of time on the internet -- gotta' have something like that. I can't be disciplined with books, though. It's hard for me to put them down for studying, bed, and I would guess even a hungry husband or screaming child.

And thanks SOOOOOOOOO much for your email. I felt so honored that you would give of your time mentoring a young missionary in that way. What a gem that email was when I read it last night. I hope to reply to you soon.

Ellie said...

Sarah - this one is yours! I have a cd of kid's stories for your girls, too. They were 33 cents, so I grabbed a handful. Send me your address on e-mail.

Ugh! Grace Livingston Hill! Cookie cutter romance... I'll admit, I've read some, too, when there was nothing else. My mom actually LIKES them and has several - ugh!

Karis - I know what you mean. Books are addicting! I ration them out to myself, and have stayed away from them for several years simply because I wouldn't respond to my kids when I was "in" one. I also stay up way too late and so am cranky the next day!

And, you're welcome.

stephanie garcia said...

I appreciated your visit to my blog and your comment. I've been reading through some of your posts today and pray that God continues to bless you and touch your life with grace, healing and hope in this new year.

Becky Aguirre said...

Hey, at least GLH books are clean! :) Just not too realistic...they are a last resort for me...glad you were pleasantly surprised with this read!

Ellie said...

GLH books remind me of Christmas at my grandma's. Stacks of presents under the tree. Eighteen cousins. Grandma always bought us all the same thing.

The big questions was not "what is in it?" but "what color is yours?". (Love Grandma, not complaining about the gifts.)

With GLH books, the only question is "who is rich and who is poor this time - girl or boy". But, sure, they do make something to read when there is little else. Better than a secular romance I picked up at an in-laws (non-believers) house! Wow! I didn't know they wrote such things! Argh! (turning bright red and slamming book down)