Saturday, February 07, 2009

Age Before Beauty: My Review

I started Age Before Beauty last night and was really enjoying it. It is a funny book about an independent, career-oriented young woman who has just had her first baby. As the end of her maternity leave draws near she starts to dread missing this special time with her baby. Her first post-baby outing is with her sister to one of those sales parties. While there she gets the brilliant idea of selling that stuff rather than going back to her office job. When she gets home from the party, her mother-in-law, who she despises (the feeling is mutual) is there -- she has just moved out because she feels unappreciated and unloved.

The first half of the book is very real, and funny at times. For example: "Allie whirled, shock coursing up her spine, her mouth hanging open. Then her grip on Joanie tightened. This was no girlfriend, no affair. It was much worse. Staring at her from just inside her kitchen stood the only person in the world who hated her guts. And the feeling was definitely mutual. Her Mother-in-law." We find out later that the "hatred" was a misunderstanding by a harried bride, but....

We follow Allie into the world of party sales and multi-level marketing. We learn why she is determined to rely on herself and why her husband hates churches. This story had a lot of potential. It just never quite reached it. It wasn't a bad book, the second half just didn't finish what the first half started.

This week's Faith n'Fiction Saturday talks about the purpose of Christian fiction and the author of this book obviously thinks it is to make a very clear point about God being the answer to your problems. After a couple of stray references to Allie's sister's Christian faith and that of her boyfriend in the first half of the book; the second half becomes more definitely Christian. Allie and her husband rediscover the faiths of their childhood, and after that everything ties up neatly in a bow. It is a sweet book, but I found the ending kind of forced and unrealistic.

First Wildcard is touring this book February 23. Check back then to read the first chapter, and if I get time, I'll link to other reviews.

Question for discussion: When you had your first baby, did your plans about whether or not you'd return to work change between the time you left work and the time you were supposed to go back? Did your feelings change, even if your plans didn't?


  1. My answer: Before kids became a concrete reality, I hoped to be able to stay home while mine were young. Financially that never worked out; I always knew I was heading back after maternity leave. I was a little surprised at how upset I was with No. 1. I cried for a week. It was easier with the other two.

  2. When I was pregnant with my son, I was already facing being a single mom. I knew that I was going to have to work period. God did bless me though. I was working at a vacation spot at a popular eatery, and I made excellent money. The customers and regulars loved me and tipped me very well. I worked double shifts five days a week, and was blessed with the best sections. I socked away as much money as possible and when I gave birth to my son, I had enough money saved away to allow me to stay home with my son for his first year with only having to work Friday evenings and Saturdays at a crafter store. I have found that God blessed me all the time and always made a way for me to work jobs that allowed me to be financially independent (no child support) while being there for my son.
    I was also fortunate to have family care for me son when I did work. He went to a lovely Christian daycare at age four but other than that was always with my mom or my gramma.
    Even now with my son being 14 years old, I would rather be with him. My husband and I worked very hard and save like the dickens. I am blessed that now I am able to work part time so I can be there after school. This was the hard time for me. I was full time, and my son really needed me. God again opened a door. :)

    Thanks for the discussion! :)

  3. My plan was always to stay home after I had children. There was a brief time where it looked like I may have to return to work while dh awaited his bar results. But thankfully the results arrived in time for him to go on active duty just 11 days after dd was born (while I was on maternity leave using saved sick days)so we were never without a paycheck nor did we need daycare.
    But I did try selling Discovery Toys during the latter part of my pregnancy and a bit after Madeleine was born... but I am not a salesman and gave that up quickly. Fortunately unlike the character I didn't buy excess stock and I loved the display kit so my kids had gifts waiting in the closet as they grew.


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