Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Book Review: "As Young as We Feel" by Melody Carlson

Once upon a time in the little town on the Oregon coast, there were four Lindas—all in the same first-grade classroom. So they decided to go by their middle names. And form a club. And be friends forever. But that was 47 years and four lives ago. Now a class reunion has brought them all—the New York lawyer, the empty nester, the frustrated artist, and the aging starlet—together again in their old hometown, at a crossroads in their lives. They’re about to explore the invigorating reality that even the most eventful life has second acts…and there’s no statute of limitations on friendship.

Unlike the characters in this book, I never had the privilege of sharing my name with anyone in my classes. Deborah has been a popular name in the 50's, it seemed to die down by the time I entered this world. Even though the characters are in their 50s, I still enjoyed reading about their experiences. Class reunions are always fun to read about because it's interesting to see how the popular crowd has fared throughout the years or how your crush from high school is no longer hot. What I found unique about this book is that the four Lindas weren't best friends in high school, they had just bonded because they all shared the same name back then. Now they've grown apart and created new identities for themselves.

Caroline's character was the most interesting to me. Her situation with her mother was sad to read and frustrating to read about. It's hard to see someone you love start to slowly break down mentally especially when it's a parent. I was a bit confused as to how her mother survived on her own. It seemed that Caroline didn't visit her all that much before the book started. I don't know how her mother hasn't burned the house down or hurt herself severely living on her own. Abby's story was a bit of a letdown. She seems to be kind of a push over, allowing her husband to do what he wants and doesn't think about what makes her happy. I got really annoyed at the way he would put her down and then accuse her of making his life miserable. Even at the end when they start to resolve their problems, he's still not making 100% of an effort.

As for the other two women, I didn't really feel as if I got to know Marley or Janie. They just seemed to be the two characters that lived far away and then chose to come back to their hometown. There wasn't really much growth in their characters other than discovering that they weren't happy in their present situation. I did find it quite interesting that Marley's son is gay and other than a few mentions of her ex husband being displeased it's just a way of life for them. It was the same with Janie's boss, it's casually mentioned but not a factor. Which I thought was very refreshing for Christian fiction, to NOT be judgmental.

I will admit that even though I normally love Melody's books, this one feel sort of flat. Melody is known for pushing very edgy material in her other books and this one didn't really have it. I think there was just too much dialogue between the characters. There was just a LOT of talking that seemed to be just chatter or small talk. I never really bonded with any of the characters like I normally do. Overall though I enjoyed it. There is a bit more faith talk in this book as opposed to other Carlson books, but for the most part it doesn't feel in your face. Since I do enjoy her books, I will be reading the next book in the series.

As Young as We Feel by Melody Carlson is published by David C. Cook (2010)

This ARC was provided by the Amazon Vine program

1 comment:

  1. OK once again you have made my must read list 2 books longer. The way it is going I will never read them all before the end of this year. Then next will start and a new list on top of the old list. Then the next year.....
    Oh my.
    Who says a clean house is necessary?

    ReplyDelete

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