Sunday, November 14, 2010

Book Review: Amy Inspired

Amy Inspired

About the book: Amy Gallagher, aspiring writer, has an unabashed obsession with words. She gave up a steady, albeit unexciting, job to pursue a life of writing. However, two years and one master’s degree later, she finds herself almost exactly right back where she started. Discouraged by the growing pile of rejections from publishers and afraid that she has settled, Amy knows something has to change.  

Then she meets the mysterious, attractive, and unavailable Eli. Amy finds herself struggling to walk the fine line between friendship and something more with Eli, even as she tries to cope with the feeling that her friends and family are moving on without her. When the unexpected begins pouring in, Amy doubts the love and fulfillment she seeks will ever come her way. Forced to take a close look at who she has become, the state of her faith, and her aspirations for her life, she must make a choice: play it safe yet again or finally find the courage to follow her dreams.

My thoughts:  I have mixed feelings about this one.  I found myself skimming some pages just because I really didn't care about the characters, and this is one of those books where the characters, not the plot, were the real focus.  Amy is now 30, she dreams of being a writer, but does little to achieve that gol but catalog rejection notices.  She lives like a graduate student--sharing a small apartment,focusing her life on a college campus, and living on a small paycheck.   She has friends who are as immature as she is.  We learn about the sorrows in their present and past lives that make them who they are, but it seems to me (and in some ways I think it seemed to the characters) that there is a time when you decide to grow up, to focus on the life you have rather than pining for one that doesn't seem likely to happen.  The ending is meant to be happy, yet I can't help but wonder if it will be happy down the road.  

Amy Inspired is marketed as Christian fiction. Several of the Amazon reviews took issue with this.  Amy attends church regularly, and even invites one of her students to come to church.  We hear one of the pastor's sermons.  Amy however, does not exude this saccharine-sweet love for and confidence in God that is often seen in Christian novels--and her spiritual life really doesn't seem to mature or change in the book. Amy was raised in the "First Fundamentalist Church",which didn't believe in drinking or dancing.  Amy does both.  Amy's parents are divorced, and Amy's mom is now dating a Catholic--though nothing is said about Catholicism, good, bad or otherwise. In one scene Amy recalls a date where she ended up in her date's apartment wearing nothing put her panties and bra,telling her date that she was a virgin.  As someone who spent her dating days wanting to be good, but not a goody two-shoes, I could relate to that situation.  Later in the book, her male roommate (with whom she had not been involved) crawls into her bed one night (with her consent), though no sex takes place. In short,while some complain the book isn't Christian enough, I think there is too much religion to market this as a mass-market book.  

I'd like to thank the folks at Bethany House for providing a complimentary review copy.  I was specifically told that negative reviews were acceptable.  

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