Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Book Review: "The Fine Art of Insincerity" by Angela Hunt

Summary from Three grown Southern sisters have ten marriages between them—and more loom on the horizon—when Ginger, the eldest, wonders if she’s the only one who hasn’t inherited what their family calls “the Grandma Gene”: the tendency to like the casualness of courtship better than the intimacy of marriage. Could it be that her two sisters are fated to serially marry, just like their seven-times wed grandmother, Mrs. Lillian Irene Harper Winslow Goldstein Carey James Bobrinski Gordon George? It takes a “girls only” weekend, closing up Grandma’s treasured beach house for the last time, for the sisters to really unpack their family baggage, examine their relationship DNA, and discover the true legacy their much-marrying grandmother left behind . . .

Angela Hunt has always been one of my go to authors ever since I started reading Christian fiction. What I love about her books is that even though they are written from a Christian perspective, she tackles subjects that aren't normally discussed in Christian social circles much less in Christian fiction books. For example, in this latest book from her, the main topic is divorce. This is a topic that is pretty much taboo among many Christians because it's not suppose to happen. Those that have been divorced have found themselves alienated from members of the church regardless of the situation that led to the divorce. And yet Hunt writes about three sisters who have 9 divorces between the three of them plus a grandmother who went through seven marriages.

The story is split up by each sister having her own POV in each chapter. The segments are marked by name as well as different fonts to give each sister a distinctive voice. Once I knew who was who, I found this method very easy to follow each sister's thoughts. Being from a three girl family as well, I always enjoy seeing the characterizations in stories about three sisters because of how true they are.

In terms of serious subjects talked about in the story, there are three major ones that get brought up: divorce, infidelity and suicide. All three are pretty heavy subjects that don't get a lot of coverage in Christian fiction. The topics are discussed openly and without shame by any of the characters. Penny and Rose divorced their previous husbands for different reasons but neither is ashamed of what they did. Their current marriages are not what they planned them out to be and it's interesting to see the different directions at how both choose to handle them. Meanwhile Ginger thinks she has the perfect marriage but she's wrong. Her situation is one that no woman wants to hear and I found it a bit sad that she never picked up any clues on what was going on. I found it interesting that what she was worried about most was how people were going to view her if a divorce were to happen.

One thing that bugged me a little was I could have sworn there were references to a very minor character being gay in this story. I'm not bothered at all that the character was gay. I just felt like there were clues pointing to this in revelations from diaries and letters. It seemed glaringly obvious to me, but no one else in the story seemed to pick up on this. And just as quickly as it came up, it went away without anyone else commenting on it. I was just baffled that none of the characters (except maybe the grandmother) realized this because they even questioned the reason why he went away on the trip. It was just a little odd for me.

In all honestly I didn't find this book to be very Christian-y at all. Other than Ginger, I didn't get a sense of faith from the other two sisters. I only think it's because of Ginger's faith that she's able to make her decision at the end of the book. However, I feel that there is a LOT that needs to be discussed before any more decisions are made. I don't know if I agree with her final decision but everyone has to handle things differently. Divorce is something that I don't think a blanket statement can be used to make a decision. There are many circumstances that can cause different reactions in people. Whether you stay or leave does not make you a better Christian or a better person and neither does it make you a bad Christian or a bad person. This is why this book is so fascinating because it will evoke different reactions in different people and it's great for discussion. I expect nothing less from an Angela Hunt book.

The Fine Art of Insincerity by Angela Hunt is published by Howard (2011)

This review copy was provided for a blog tour with Glass Road PR

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the review. I really liked this book, but it was an "uncomfortable" read for me. Some of the attitudes and family dynamics hit a little close to home. But the best novels make us think and maybe squirm just a little. :)


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