Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Serials and Scenarios - Kathy Herman's Never Look Back

This is a big week for book releases and reviews.

Read below to see my review of Kathy Herman's Never Look Back. Click on the book cover to get more details.

Never Look Back ably and tensely handles some very delicate subjects, a "rehabilitated" drug user who valued getting high over her child, an alcoholic barely on the road to recovery, a town full of people who watch and wait for the town bad girl to mess up and a violent psychopath looking for kicks.

This is a great cold winter read unless you are very squeamish or sensitive to addictions. Several twists and secrets are revealed along the storyline, most of which I guessed early on, which I don't always do, but figuring things out didn't ruin the story for me at all.

If you are a Kathy Herman fan or want to continue reading about Ivy Griffith's road to recovery and healing, you are going to want to get a copy of Never Look Back. If you know someone who dabbled in a past that now haunts them as they see shameful junk in the new light of day, this could be a series that helps them begin to stop looking behind and start moving forward.

Serials and Scenarios - Amy Grant's Mosaic

I was offered the opportunity to read and review Amy Grant's new biography, Mosaic. Had it been in the bookstore, I might have picked it up, glanced through it and come away with a very different impression than I've developed from reading it cover to cover.

I haven't been a rabid Amy fan. As a matter of fact, I've seen her in concert once and that was because I went to see Mercy Me and Amy opened for them. I purchased her Christmas CD at a garage sale. This information is not a slam in any way. I'm just sharing where I am coming from where Amy is concerned.

Driven to curiosity by the talk before, during and after her divorce from Gary Chapman I purchased Amy's Behind the Eyes CD. The lyrics from several songs haunted me. As a survivor of a rotten marriage gone good, I felt compelled to write to Amy. Crazy as that sounds...who does that? But I did. I don't remember what I wrote, other than to tell her it didn't have to end in divorce. I wondered like much of the rest of the world why she thought God wanted her to be happy at the expense of her children's pain.

I almost turned down Mosaic because of my thoughts and feelings. What if she showed no remorse, no awareness of the sanctity of marriage? What if she lightly dismissed the damage done to her children? How could I recommend this book? Then my daughter reminded me that I don't like to sit in judgment of others and I love people who screw up daily, and that I have to look into the mirror and see behind my own eyes. I needed to give Amy's book a fair reading.

I'm sorry, Amy.

Amy's divorce is as much a symptom of America's brand of diluted Christianity as it is a picture of our pathetic human weaknesses. Why should she, though in the public eye and ministering to thousands through her music, be held to a higher standard of holiness? A standard that a full half of professing Christian married couples can't meet? I, myself, am still married only because God held me in place. Everything in me wanted to be divorced and free of the pain that my husband and I inflicted on each other.

Mosaic starts like a feel-good anecdotal "Chicken Soup" style of book full of sweet stories inspiring song lyrics which end each chapter. A section of names and events details Amy's relationships with celebrities and treasured encounters with them.

Had the book been just this feel good celebrity stuff, I wouldn't recommend it. But as the book progresses Amy begins to dig deep. The promotional quotes from Mosaic have been light and chatty, friendly and homey. What dug under my skin and into my heart was the poetic poignancy with which Amy described the events and people that have shaped her through much pain and loss. Those are the entries that contain the lyrics from some of the songs that haunted me from Behind the Eyes. Amy shares her thoughts on depression, faithquakes and the death of innocence. She left me feeling like I hadn't been reading the words of a spoiled celebrity, but instead, hearing the confessions of a hurting friend.

Fame doesn't save us. A good spouse, wonderful children, great friends, history, and money can't save us. If we could each grasp how much we are loved by the Creator of the universe, maybe we wouldn't be so quick to run away from Him to find our own way. We all grab for worthless bandages. Most of us don't have the burden of the spotlight of fame to complicate our paths.

After finishing Mosaic, I read a feature article in Parade Magazine on Brad Pitt. My cousin lives in the Springfield area and is acquainted with Brad's parents. It's always made me sad that Brad stepped away from his parent's beliefs. After reading the article, I'm even more burdened for Brad and thousands of other people who are living lives without "knowing" Jesus. If you are too, look up Hollywood Prayer Network.

Waterbrook has given me three copies of Mosaic to give away to my readers. If you want a copy, leave a comment. I'll pick names from a hat on Friday and get a book sent out to three of you. In your comment, leave a name of someone you know who needs a touch from Jesus, an unnamed burden or a celebrity you pray for and I'll pray for that person.
Click on the bookcover photo to visit the Amazon page to see more reviews and information regarding Mosaic.

Scribble and Scrambles - Are You in Your Right Mind? Plus Giveaway Announcement.

Okay, this is cool.

Are you right or left brained? Click to find out. Hopefully, you are one or the other.

Yes. Yes, I am procrastinating...

And thanks, Kim, for the promise to pray for my weekend angst.

Note: Think of a celebrity that you should be or are praying for. Beginning at 2:30 today (central time) you'll have a chance to share that person's name in the comment section of my post for the day. And if you are one of the three names I draw out of a hat (okay, not a hat, actually a clean coffee mug if I can find one) you'll get a copy of Amy Grant's new biography, Mosaic. I'll give you til 2:30 central tomorrow and I'll announce the winners on Thursday.