I have not been much of a blogger lately. I'm in a sort of funk, I guess. I'm doing things, but they are definitely not the things I normally do. I think part of it is that I've come to a place in my life again where it's time to make some choices and fight against the inertia that seems to hold me in place whenever I spend too much time in my hometown. It's been probably a year and a half of holding what I always imagined would be a nice temporary job in a field so far removed from anything that I ever really wanted to do for a living that it's hardly even funny anymore. I have to make a choice at this point, and I think maybe I've already made it but haven't come to terms with it, about whether I want to take the safe route and have some education paid for by my employer so that I can be something I don't very much want to be but also something that will offer me pretty much definite job security and a decent wage for, well, ever, should I choose to accept. Or whether I need to break loose from this unexpected detour and go back to school or get a job or whatever doing something that I actually have some passion for even if that means taking a pay cut or getting into more debt going to back to school or moving somewhere else and trying to make a go of it again just scraping by. I think I know what I want, but I also don't much trust myself as I don't seem to be a good hand at making decisions. At least not in my own view. So, yes, I'm in a bit of a "Now what should I do with my life?" funk where I have to decide if it would be complete idiocy to turn down a very viable opportunity just because that career path doesn't call out to me...
So I've been thinking a lot. I've been working a lot. It got warmer here, and so I've been walking a lot. And watching this this stupid show that I swore to myself I wouldn't get hooked on this year because it's such an incredible time suck, but I can't seem to make myself stop caring once I've watched a show or two. And on Thursday I had to chase a lost bird out of my house, but that's another story for another time.
In doing all these other things, I've failed to muster any enthusiasm for reviewing books, but I really should because, despite the fact that I read like a turtle (okay, maybe a little better than a turtle - turtles don't really read, you know), I'm getting woefully behind.
So today, I bring to you a selection provided by LibraryThing Early Reviewers - yet another of those that the "oooh, shiny free book" went to my clicking finger before my brain caught up. I didn't realize it, but it's Christian fiction. I try to avoid such stuff when reviews are called for because I don't have a good track record with it despite actually being a Christian, and it's usually nice to pick for review books that I, you know, might actually like. Nonetheless, the TBR randomizer chose it for me out of all the languishing ARCs and I read it. I wasn't totally blown away, but you know, I didn't hate it. In fact, I rather enjoyed it at points, but here, let me get to the real thing here.
It's 1975 and Amy Monteiro, a slightly high-strung Christian teenager, has but two goals in life and they are to start her life at college in California and leave her irresponsible mother behind. Imagine her frustration, then, when her mother decides to accompany her in her move to California compounded even further when she finds herself stranded in the one-horse town of Cordial, Colorado waiting for a replacement transmission for her mother's beloved Pontiac. Summer stretches out forever for Amy as she settles into her new job working for the pious if not exactly Christian Mrs. Clancy at Clancy and Sons Funeral Home dealing with "death calls" and being generally creeped out by the thought of dead bodies in the basement. Even while Amy sets about making contingency plans for her escape to California, with or without her mother, the many and sundry people of Cordial are slowly breaking down Amy's walls and teaching her lessons about her life and her God that will last far beyond her summer within the town limits.
I had ambiguous feelings about Patti Hill's The Queen of Sleepy Eye. I will, however, say that it was better than I expected it to be. It does suffer somewhat from what I would say is a typical problem of Christian fiction based on what I've read. It favors message over writing. Hill gets her quite valid points across well, but there's a certain artlessness to the writing. A bit more telling than showing, dialogue that feels stiff and contrived on occasion. That said, though, I did enjoy this story. Hill certainly has a knack for storytelling and the pages went by without my even noticing. She has populated her small Colorado town with characters that might at first seem a bit on the cookie cutter side but ultimately develop into lovable, if flawed, people that the reader can really sympathize with. I noted the points Hill was making with her story, but I never felt like I was simply being "preached to" instead of being told a story.
Overall, I wouldn't say that The Queen of Sleepy Eye will make my short list for top reads of the year, but it is a sweet and very readable story about growing up that reminds Christians that, at the end of the day, what we really need is grace and that God has a limitless quantity to offer.