Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett

Rose arrives at St. Elizabeth's, a home for pregnant women. But she is different from the other young, unwed women who are staying there. Rose is married. She ran away from home after finding herself pregnant and married to a man she never loved.

This book is beautifully written with great character development. However, I like it when the protagonist changes throughout the book, and Rose never did. The ending was painful and sad, but worth the read. In real life, sometimes people don't change and that is sad too...for them and for those around them who desperately need them to.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

Sarah Dessen is one of my favorite authors. She writes for the young-adult crowd, but the life lessons are applicable to all.

This book takes place during the summer before senior year. Macy is trying to be just "fine" even though she is still grieving the sudden death of her father and also reeling from a break-up with her seemingly perfect boyfriend (he's not!). She falls into a job working for a caterer where she meets a motley, but honest group of friends. Macy learns about telling the truth to herself and to others. She also learns that embracing the messy parts in life might easier than trying to be perfect all of the time.

There is a lot more to this book: thoughts on grief, characters who follow their hearts, tenderness and grace expressed between family members, and challenges to be real.

Some quotes that I liked:

"I am not a spontaneous person. But when you're alone in the world, really alone, you have no choice but to be open to suggestions."

"Maybe that's what you got when you stood over your grief, facing it finally. A sense of its depths, its area, the distance across, and the way over or around it, whichever you chose in the end."

" was okay not to fit in everywhere, as long as you did [fit in] somewhere."

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

I'm gonna make this review short since I have four papers due in the next several weeks. Hum, but I somehow found time to start and finish this book so maybe I'm not really feeling the pressure yet.

This book is about 14-year-old Susie Salmon who is murdered by a neighbor. She narrates the book from heaven as she watches how her family and friends deal with their grief.

I found this book to be quite odd. It was definitely a page-turner, but the ending was super weird! My older sister warned me about that so I was prepared. Overall, the book was pretty good, but still, there was something weird about it. This is not a book that I would keep in my library and not one that I would buy. If you have the chance to read it, I would, but I'm warning you that it's weird!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Walking with God by John Eldredge

The Sacred Romance was John Eldredge (along with Brent Curtis) at his best. This book, Walking with God, is John Eldredge as his...less than best. The book basically traces his journey of one year of walking and talking with God. He stresses that yes, God does still talk to us (if only we'll listen and ask him to speak). Eldredge talks about the various struggles and lessons he faces throughout the year and how he talks to God about them.

I appreciate that Eldredge values the heart...listening to it, keeping it alive, following it. To some degree, that point comes out in this book. The rest of the book...well, it's okay and has some encouraging points, but by no means is this quality Eldredge. For that, we need to return to The Sacred Romance or The Journey of Desire (which I see is now being sold as titled simply as Desire).
I have one stylistic note: There are a lot of fragments in this book! I guess as a bestselling author you can start writing like that and you're still paid the big bucks. Sometimes fragments can be effective. However, when there are so many of them that it's distracting, I think that means that there's too many of them.

This is one quote in which I appreciated the content, but not the form:
"And so, whatever else might be the reasons for our disappointments, there is no question that God uses them to draw us to himself. To wean our hearts from every other perceived source of life, so that we might come to find out life in him." --John Eldredge