[Steps up to microphone, taps softly on microphone, waits for reverb to quit] “There comes a time in every readers life when he or she is handed a book by a friend, an autographed book, and said friend says, ‘Please read this; I think you’ll like it.’ What you are about to read is a review of a book I wouldn’t normally choose. Thank you for understanding.” [Bows, turns, and walks off the stage].
Mindy by June Strong is a story about a Christian young woman who marries an agnostic, and her journey through life trying to live her faith and raise her children as she knows best. While I appreciate romance, I like it as a background theme and not as the main theme of a novel. I was just about to tear my hair out during the first half of the novel. Not that I don’t appreciate love, but it’s just not what gets me interested in a novel. Also, I’m too logical to empathize with a headstrong 16-year-old girl who falls in love with a guy just after meeting him for the first time! How does that even happen? And then she marries him a year later, knowing he doesn’t share her faith and wants nothing to do with it. How did she not see problems coming down the line? Blerg.
Now let’s have a chat about the actual writing. The author should have stuck to just telling the story. Instead she attempted to romanticize the story and in effect came across as amateur. The dialogue is quite flat and makes the characters one-dimensional and in many cases, whiny. Then we have foreshadowing. Which I’ve learned is like vinegar-a little bit goes a long way. For example, Mindy’s father catches pneumonia. She goes and sits with him and “knows she won’t see her father again.” The next paragraph starts with “a week later Mindy sat at her father’s funeral wondering where the years had gone.” Wow. Who knew Mindy could predict the future?! This happens every time someone falls ill. Her mother, Mindy herself. It’s more like foretelling and not foreshadowing. It’s frustrating because it basically gives the plot away.
After all that the book does settle into a more palatable rhythm. Once Mindy and Carl have their children the plot focuses more on the struggles of life than on romance. The conflicts do help flesh the characters out and Mindy becomes more three-dimensional. I do feel for her struggles she faces as she sees one son continue her faith but leave their Vermont home for Alaska, and the other son completely reject his faith and destroys his life in the search for peace from grief and the next rush.
So in the end I gave the book three stars. The plot was good but only in the second half and the writing was terrible. I liked the message from the book, overall, and I might recommend it to a few students, but it won’t be something I’ll be promoting from the mountain tops.