About the Book:
At age thirty-seven, Alice Ferguson has everything an ambitious, intellectual, self-made woman could want. She has captured a career as an editor of a tabloid magazine, launched her own website full of Hollywood gossip, and even clawed her way into a second-hand pair of Prada shoes. She has also finally landed a husband—no small feat, as it required getting pregnant with his baby.
But when Alice becomes pregnant and experiences health problems, her world is turned upside down. To save her life and the life of her unborn child, she must leave Los Angeles and the stress of her bicoastal career, exchanging the late-night parties of sunny California for the suburbs of Nashville. With a weak smile and an even weaker heart, she soon finds herself living with a husband she barely knows, ensconced in a gated community brimming with perky, plastic, pony-tailed housewives. And then, at the gentle urging of a new friend, she agrees to attend church one Sunday afternoon.
What begins as an experiment beyond her comfort zone sparks something much bigger, as Alice begins to look deep within herself only to find insecurity, fear, and loneliness. One Sunday charts an endearing character’s journey from moral ambiguity through madness, tears, laughter, and heartbreak to a connection with the only One who can help heal her.
This book does what I think Christian fiction does best--it tells the story of one woman's spiritual life and how getting her spiritual life in order helped get the rest of her life in order as well. Alice suffered some tragedies in her early life and has learned to drug away the pain of life. She has learned that the only one on whom she can really depend is herself. When pregnancy complications make her move in with the baby's father she comes to know an ex-NFL player turned preacher and his family. Through conversations with them and other experiences in the book she comes to the point of making peace with God.
The story bounces around to various times in Alice's life, and while each section is dated, sometimes I had to check back to orient myself. Still, for the most part, the technique worked.
What didn't I like? Well, maybe I'm quick to take offense, but I found the book mildly anti-Catholic. Basically, Alice was raised Catholic, and after a particular experience in her life when she was fourteen, her father sent her to see a priest, who didn't take it seriously. While she doesn't say what her spiritual life had been like before that, after that, she checked out of Catholicism in spirit if not immediately in body. When she regained her spiritual footing it was in an evangelical megachurch with the praise band, the video projector, sermon props and "dunk tank" (her words, not mine) baptismal font. Why could it not have been some generic pastor of some generic church who turned away a young teen who had a spiritual experience? What purpose, other than to suggest that Catholicism is spiritually lacking, was there for making her original religion Catholicism? On the other hand, I will say that at some point it is noted that a priest told Alice that we don't get into heaven on our own merits but because of God's grace. As someone who has been told by non-Catholics that Catholics think they have to earn their way to heaven, I'm glad to see our beliefs more accurately represented.
Without the anti-Catholic sections, I would have given this book a B+, as it is, I'll give it a B-.