Monday, January 14, 2008

Tell me it gets better than this...



I enjoy reading but don't do it as much as I wish I did. So, last week I picked up the first book in a series I bought a year or two ago. It's the Redemption series by Karen Kingsbury. She's a Christian author and by the reviews I read on Amazon I was thinking I was in for a real treat. But boy this book may have been the most pathetic excuse for a "Christian" novel I have ever read. Perhaps my expectations were set too high. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading Francine Rivers (who primarily writes historical/Biblical fiction) and I thought maybe (or hopefully) these would be equally as intriguing... unfortunately not the case.

Anyone read it? Anyone continued on and read the rest? Does it get better from here? Honestly, I was so upset with this book I considered throwing the rest in the fire. The only word I can think of to explain this book is CONTRIVED. It's so pathetic. Here's a brief summary of how it goes, and if you are interested in reading it let me know and I'll give it to you.

The main character, Kari, is married to Tim. Tim, a college professor, has an affair with Angela, a student. Kari goes home to her family to recover from the blow, all while remaining determined to forgive Tim and work on their marriage. And she finds out she's pregnant. But, she runs into her high school boyfriend, Ryan, and rekindles an old flame. Tim starts to drink. But eventually decides to leave Angela and come back to Kari. So, Kari and Tim are working on their marriage and things are going great. They are 2 months from the birth of their child and Angela (the student mistress) calls Tim and tells him that she's also pregnant with his child. So, Tim leaves one night to take Angela a letter explaining that while he is terribly sorry that she is pregnant, he is going to remain faithful to his wife, Kari. While delivering the letter he is shot and killed by Angela's deranged ex-boyfriend. Kari is left alone pregnant and for a short time at the hospital was left thinking that he was still involved with Angela because he was shot at her apartment. Then they bring her the letter which states he wants to remain faithful to her, but she learns Angela is pregnant. Then Angela comes in and tells Kari that she's not really pregnant she just told Tim that to get him back. Then life moves on, she buries her husband and has her baby. And guess who shows up in the hospital room after the baby is born, the high school boyfriend, Ryan. The end!

Sounds like a trashy soap opera if you ask me. It's supposed to be a series on relationships; building them, growing them, redeeming them, all while focusing on Christ. I couldn't get past the plot to actually take something from the book and apply it to my life, much less my marriage.

Anyone else read it??

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15 comments:

Household6 said...

Except for Francine Rivers I think Christian Fiction is PATHETIC. I don't even bother picking any up in more. It upsets me that authors can put out such pathetic pieces, label them "Christian" and then we as Christians are supposed to just accept something that would have NEVER been published in the secular world. If you find any books that are actually decent PLEASE let me know!

Heather

P.S. I love Redeeming Love, have you read all Francine Rivers? "And the Shofar Blew", the "Last Sin Eater" and one about a thread are pretty good too. Don't bother reading "Leota's Garden".

Tara and Felix said...

Are these people in this book from Childersburg? :)

e said...

61 is hilarious.
Your book review sounded like a soap opera. I'd say throw it out the window (or fire) and stick with what you know.
all i read are blogs, so what do i know.
:)
E

Tegan said...

okay, i may be going out on a limb here, but i read the entire Redemption series. I too did not like the first book and thought this cannot be what Christian fiction is about, however my sister-in-law Jennie told me to keep going that it gets better! In my opinion, it got MUCH better. The first book is by far the worst one! It's amazing what she does with characters from here on out in the book....you will be introduced to many more characters and aspects of their lives. My advice is to try a couple more and then make your decision. Again, this is my opinion only. Valerie and my mother-in-law, Betsy have also read them....and loved them. Let me say though, that I am not a "reader"! I too would rather spend my time reading a Christian book by John Piper, but if you need a release and one that will point you to CHrist (I promise once you get past the frist book you will see this) then keep going. And if you do keep going and you still don't like them...blame me for wasting your time! ha ha!

Jill Eileen Smith said...

To household6 - I'm sorry you feel that way about Christian fiction. I haven't read the Karen Kingsbury book reviewed here, but I've read a number of truly well-done Christian novels, and not only from Francine Rivers. I love Francine's work as well, but have you read anything by B.J. Hoff, Angela Hunt, Nancy Moser, or Deborah Raney? (To name a few.) Some of my favorite books by these and other authors you might check out are: Mountain Song Legacy series by B.J. Hoff, Shadow Women by Angela Hunt, Mozart's Sister by Nancy Moser, Beneath a Southern Sky by Deborah Raney, The Fountain Creek Chronicles by Tamera Alexander, and Pieces of Silver by Maureen Lang.

If you like historical or Biblical fiction, I'd invite you to visit http://www.favoritepastimes.blogspot.com and check out some of the people we interview - historical fiction writers. Perhaps you have picked up some books that left a bad impression - I do hope you won't write off the entire Christian market. New authors emerge every year and many are writing stellar stories. I'll agree, not all are that good - just as not all books in the secular market are all good.

But I do hope you'll give those of us in the Christian market another chance. :)

Blessings,
~Jill
www.jilleileensmith.com

Anonymous said...

If you want to read some fun Christian books try Denise Hildreth's Savannah books. So far there are 3 and they are fun to read and you will appreciate them if you are from the south. There is also another author Kristen Billerbeck. She writes good, not cheesy Christian fiction. Karen Kingsbury does have other books out there that are good. I too am not a huge fan of that series.

Ashley said...

Darby,
The last "anonymous" person recommended Kristen Billerbeck. YOU WOULD LOVE IT! I started with "What a Girl Wants." It is so stinkin' funny. It's about a Christian girl who's 30 and single trying to find a man. I'm not an avid reader, but I had to read the rest of the series and try a few more of her books!
The Andalusia library even had a few of her books. :)

Anonymous said...

A great Christian fiction book is The Shack by William P Young. Will change your perception of who God and Jesus really are, in an amazing way. Changed my life. Quick read too!

Dona said...

I haven't read it- the only books I read are ways to keep your family from getting sick and wierd stuff like that! Anyway you did a great job describibg the book, so now I don't have to read it. By the way, isn't it always like Ryan to come in and save the day?- well, maybe not save the day, but make things a lot better!

Lucy and Jason Henderly said...

Darby, I have read this book. It is like a soap opera and I don't know if the next ones are better. I have the next book but I haven't had the urge to read it. I have to admit when I read Redemption I could not put it down because it was so "juicy". I don't think I walked away with any spiritual truths to apply to my life. Maybe when I get really bored I'll read the next one.

Valerie said...

I also want to make a comment as someone that has read the entire series. Yes, I thought the first book was sad and I was upset about how the book ended. But, just let me tell you that once you start reading the books you will absolutely love them. Christ is talked about the entire way through the book. I think these books help me to identify with other Christians who might have been suffering because of an affair or whatever else we all might deal with. Keep going with the books. you will be so glad you did. Trust me@

Anonymous said...

The Lord used "Redemption" to change my marriage. I pray you will continue to read the Redemption series...and then make your judgement. What some women may find "pathetic" the Lord is using to reach Christians and the lost. Each book is full of biblical truth and grace. "Remember" is a little hard to read as it deals with AIDS and Alzheimer's. "Rejoice" is really good, and they get better from there. As "soap opera" as these books may seem to some people, they are reality for others. Praying you will keep reading Darby!

http://www.karenkingsbury.com/LivesChanged/

L.A. said...

Hey D! Sad to hear you didn't like the book...I have read the whole series and always anxious for the new one to come out. Each book shows me Christ through different eyes. People that are going through different issues and their only hope is Christ. I do have to say that they are all "tear jerkers." I love you and miss you friend.
:-)

Seen my shuffle yet? It is still MIA!

Lily Bean and Little C said...

Hey Darby,

quit reading and call some of your friends in Tally back!! We miss you terribly!!

Love,
Alison

Jill Eileen Smith said...

Hi Darby,

So good of you to stop by Favorite Pastimes! I didn't take offense with your review of the above-mentioned book. That's the subjective nature of writing - some people will like one thing and some another - and some books are written in a more engaging way than others. I hope the book ends up better than your first impressions, but like I said, I haven't read it yet.

I was mainly troubled by the comment left by household6 who visited your blog - in that she seemed to have such a bad opinion of Christian fiction. I don't know if she'll get my message, but I hope she'll give Christian fiction another try. The books I named are only a few of the ones that I think are truly good stories. (Of course, remember, I'm giving my opinion.) But I hope you like some of them.

Blessings,
~Jill