The Book: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1576839958
The Author: http://www.annettesmithbooks.com/
I was completely sucked into Joel Carpenter's story. Annette Smith's A Bigger Life male perspective point-of-view novel is raw, honest, real and heartbreaking.
I almost felt like I was reading over Joel's shoulder as he wrote in his diary. Visual without sweeping literary words, descriptions and complex sentence structure. Powerful characterization and deeply spiritual, but not exactly pretty. Instead it is a picture of flawed people doing the best they can when life is not what they expected it would be.
A Bigger Life reminded me of secular novels such as About a Boy and She's Come Undone -- the stories that compel you to devour the book to find out if the hero/heroine will overcome the odds against him/her.
Huge complex weavings of the high and low points of Joel Carpenter's life, the lives of his friends, the knitting of hearts together and painful unravelings. Through it all are a few people, flawed and honest about it, who love him enough to reach out with the love of Jesus.
You want cookie cutter anything, then you might not like A Bigger Life. The people don't behave like "good" Christians. A book more about love than doctrine. It's also a book more about story than mechanics. But if you like your fiction to make you think, cry, and wonder about the fragility of life and love, then you'll find it here.
Interview pending for tomorrow...