Wednesday, August 7, 2013
In Review: Leave a Bit of Yourself on Each Page
A couple of weeks ago two fellow authors asked me to review their debut works. I was honored. I respect both of these women and know they have that same deep desire I hold to develop a writing career.
The first work I read is a compelling work of fiction by R.A. Giggie titled Stella’s Plea. The second is a devotional by Rose Chandler Johnson called God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea. Two very different types of books. I decided to review both here and then share what these books mean to me as a writer.
Stella’s Plea by R. A. Giggie
Stella Brigg has had her share of pain and suffering. Her three-year-old daughter is deaf due to an illness a year ago, her husband is serving a military stint in Korea, and she has pulled away from God. Now, her child is missing. A simple day at the park turns into a crime scene. Isolated, Stella must battle her pain and her fears.
Giggie weaves a tale of despair and grief. Her heart-pounding tale of the abduction of the deaf child is chilling. I have read many suspense novels. Giggie intertwines the story of Stella, the abductor, and the police in a way that engages the reader from page one. The style, reminiscent of Mary Higgins Clark, brings the reader to a climax and just when we think the story is over, she takes us into the world of Stella and the Deaf culture beyond this life-changing event.
I like the revealing of the Deaf culture and the aspirations of a young deaf woman who helps the police. I had some difficulty whole-heartedly embracing the notion of a residential deaf school for very young children, but as this takes place in Canada I can accept the idea as a socio-cultural difference in thinking.
Stella’s Plea is a quick read... engaging, and memorable. I highly recommend the book. It is available on amazon.com. Read it and leave a review for Giggie.
God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea by Rose Chandler Johnson
Through the years I have been given a number of devotional books. Few have sustained my attention. Most offer a scripture, an explanation of the scripture with or without an anecdote, and pose a prompt for journaling.
While this book also offers a scripture and journal prompts, what I like about God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea are the stories Rose Chandler Johnson shares from her own life experiences with each entry as well as the brief a “sweet tea moment” and a prayer focus that often includes the needs of others. Refreshing.
I appreciate the use of different translations throughout the book, though I found myself wondering if I might be missing something in the suggested readings if I read only from my New International Version of the Bible.
The book can be enjoyed for each story or the reader seeking a deeper connection with God can dig into the suggested supportive scripture readings. I recommend the book as a tool to explore your own faith. I think it is the type of book I will visit over and over, indulging in different aspects of each entry over time.
God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea is also available on Amazon.com.
Reading as a Reader and Reading as a Writer
I decided to share both reviews because both types of writing have something unique to offer us as readers. I also wanted to explore both works as learning tools to inform my own writing. I am always asking myself as I read, “What can I learn from this work that I can apply to my own writing?”
From Giggie I read with keen interest how she displays feelings of despair and helplessness with her word choices. I ached for Stella when her daughter disappeared. I felt emotions Stella had to have been feeling without Giggie telling me how to feel. I appreciate her choice of words and crafting of phrases.
The devotional writing reminded me that as a reader I find comfort in structure, but I also enjoy being challenged to think for myself. More importantly, Johnson demonstrates in a very powerful way that if we want to connect with our readers we must be willing to leave a bit of ourselves on the pages.
Perhaps that is for me the big lesson here as a writer. Leave a bit of yourself on each page.