Sunday, February 25, 2007
The Curridge - Courage Connection Was Not Lost on Me
I just finished Lisa Samson's latest novel, Quaker Summer. I had not previously read anything by Samson and heard about this book on her hubby's blog, Willzhead. When the book arrived I noticed it was a "Women of Faith Novel of the Year." OK, I gotta be honest. That made me cringe a bit. I attended a Women of Faith conference several years back and found it too theologically conservative for me. And somehow too "polished" or "tidy". I wondered: Could a novel endorsed by the WOF be something more than fluffy Christian chick lit?
As I started reading, the answer "Oh yeah, it's more" appeared early on. Samson is good. Really good.
The novel centers around the character of Heather Curridge, a woman who, on the surface, seems to have it all. However, she is miserable, realizing she is missing something and trying to fill the void with mindless consumerism. This consumerism is just one topic Samson tackles in the novel. She also takes on bullying, volunteerism, poverty, the drug culture, the nature of friendship, and the meaning of "church". Whew!
A couple of parts of the novel really resonated with me. Like Heather, I have way too much stuff. (But with my current de-junking of the house, I am working on it!) Also, like Heather's family, my family is struggling to find a church with relevance and meaning. At one point in the novel, Heather visits a church with her friend, Lark. As she watches people file into the choir loft, Heather thinks, "I watch with little expectation because, heaven help me, church hasn't done it for me for years." Yep, I hear you.
One particularly cool aspect of the book is the humor and wisdom Samson weaves in along the way. I was hooked early in the novel when Heather discusses poetry with her friend Laney:
Heather: I haven't read a good novel in fifteen years! Not since Will was born.
Laney: I read poetry.
Heather: Me too, Laney. All the bang in less than five minutes...
Bottom line: Good book! Heather makes some difficult, courageous choices which lead to significant character growth (and get the reader thinking about their own choices).
Personal bottom line: In the future I will be more careful about judging a book by the endorsement on the cover. Could it be I need to cut the WOF some slack as well? Sigh.
p.s. There are reading group guide questions at the end of the book. One possibility would be to blog them and do a cyber discussion...