Reviewed by Phee Paradise
Becca by the Book
By Laura Jensen Walker
I’m not very familiar with the genre, but Becca by the Book seems like the ultimate chick lit book. Written in first person, Becca tells her story in a sassy voice. She’s young, independent and just wants to have fun. Her friends claim she has a problem with commitment. So she accepts a bet to go on 25 dates with the next man who asks her out. Ironically, he turns out to be a Christian and she doesn’t like Christians – which is odd because that’s what all her friends are.
The bet is a great premise for a book, and I looked forward to reading it. But I disliked Becca by the second page. She is sarcastic, judgmental and speaks in disdainful slang. She narrates her story as if she were a standup comic in a nightclub full of Christian haters. The Christians she knows are not perfect, and she is quick to see their faults. Of course, she doesn’t realize that they’re aware of them too, and are humbly and unconditionally loving her.
Reading Becca’s criticisms of her friends, the church and the Christian lifestyle, irritated me. I don’t know if Walker intended to criticize the church, parody it, or just write a book from a non-Christian’s perspective, but I wouldn’t have made it to the third chapter if not for this review. However, the book does have some strengths. It’s a good story and fairly well written, except for occasional shifts from past tense to present tense. The two unlikely people who have the biggest impact on Becca are a missionary grandmother and a saved, ex-drug addict. Their genuine love for God shines out so even Becca sees it. Because of them, she tones down her attitude and eventually finds something she can commit to.
Even though this is not my kind of book, don’t dismiss it right away. If you like chick lit, or want to watch love overcome the prejudices of an anti-Christian, you’ll want to read it.
Pros: Unique premise that doesn’t work out the way the reader would expect. It’s a fast moving story with loving characters. The book also provides an insight into how Christianese appears to an outsider.
Cons: A sassy voice that made me argue with everything the narrator said. The book is by a Christian, about Christianity, but portrays it negatively in a lot of ways.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Born in Racine, Wisconsin (home of Western Printing and Johnson’s Wax—maker of your favorite floor care products) Laura moved to Phoenix, Arizona when she was in high school. But not being a fan of blazing heat and knowing that Uncle Sam was looking for a few good women, she enlisted in the United States Air Force shortly after graduation and spent the next five years flying a typewriter through Europe.
Her lifelong dream of writing fiction came true in Spring 2005 with the release of her first chick lit novel, Dreaming in Black & White which won the Contemporary Fiction Book of the Year from American Christian Fiction Writers. Her sophomore novel, Dreaming in Technicolor was published in Fall 2005.
Laura’s third novel, Reconstructing Natalie, chosen as the Women of Faith Novel of the Year for 2006, is the funny and poignant story of a young, single woman who gets breast cancer and how her life is reconstructed as a result. This book was born out of Laura’s cancer speaking engagements where she started meeting younger and younger women stricken with this disease—some whose husbands had left them, and others who wondered what breast cancer would do to their dating life. She wanted to write a novel that would give voice to those women. Something real. And honest. And funny.
Because although cancer isn’t funny, humor is healing.
To learn more about Laura’s latest novels, please check out her Books page.
A popular speaker and teacher at writing conferences, Laura has also been a guest on hundreds of radio and TV shows around the country including the ABC Weekend News, The 700 Club, and The Jay Thomas Morning Show.
She lives in Northern California with her Renaissance-man husband Michael, and Gracie, their piano playing dog.
ABOUT THE BOOK
At twenty-five, free-spirited Becca Daniels is still trying to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up. What Becca doesn’t want to be is bored. She craves the rush of a new experience, whether it’s an extreme sport, a shocking hair color, or a new guy. That’s why she quit her bookstore job, used her last bit of credit to go skydiving, and broke her leg.
And that’s why, grounded and grumpy, Becca bristles when teased by friends for being commitment-phobic. In response, Becca issues an outrageous wager—that she can sustain a three-month or twenty-five date relationship with the next guy who asks her out. When the guy turns out to be “churchy” Ben—definitely not Becca’s type—she gamely embarks on a hilarious series of dates that plunge her purple-haired, free-speaking, commitment-phobic self into the alien world of church potlucks and prayer meetings.
This irrepressible Getaway Girl will have you cheering her on as she “suffers” through her dates, gains perspective on her life’s purpose, and ultimately begins her greatest adventure of all.
To read the first chapter of Becca By The Book, click HERE
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Reviewed by Phee Paradise