Wednesday, March 31, 2010

As Young As We Feel

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

As Young As We Feel

David C. Cook; New edition (March 1, 2010)


Melody Carlson

Over the years, Melody Carlson has worn many hats, from pre-school teacher to youth counselor to political activist to senior editor. But most of all, she loves to write! Currently she freelances from her home. In the past eight years, she has published over ninety books for children, teens, and adults--with sales totaling more than two million and many titles appearing on the ECPA Bestsellers List. Several of her books have been finalists for, and winners of, various writing awards. And her "Diary of a Teenage Girl" series has received great reviews and a large box of fan mail.

She has two grown sons and lives in Central Oregon with her husband and chocolate lab retriever. They enjoy skiing, hiking, gardening, camping and biking in the beautiful Cascade Mountains.

Is there room in one little hometown for four very different Lindas to reinvent their lives … together?

Once upon a time in a little town on the Oregon coast lived four Lindas—all in the same first-grade classroom. So they decided to go by their middle names. And form a club. And be friends forever. But that was forty-seven years and four very different lives ago. Now a class reunion has brought them all together in their old hometown—at a crossroads in their lives.

Janie is a high-powered lawyer with a load of grief. Abby is a lonely housewife in a beautiful oceanfront empty nest. Marley is trying to recapture the artistic free spirit she lost in an unhappy marriage. And the beautiful Caroline is scrambling to cope with her mother’s dementia and a Hollywood career that never really happened. Together, they’re about to explore the invigorating reality that even the most eventful life has second acts … and friendship doesn’t come with a statue of limitations.

If you would like to read the first chapter of As Young As We Feel, go HERE.

Watch the Video:

Melody Carlson is a prolific author; I've enjoyed some of her books (and my girl loves the teen books she writes) but I've been underwhelmed with others. As for this one, I'm a bit conflicted. I couldn't resist signing up to review it because it's about four women named Linda, although each has gone by her middle name since they were all together in first grade. I enjoyed the storyline as the four gals met again at their 35th high school reunion and coped with the challenges of their very different lives. Chapter titles and focal emphases alternate between the four women, but because they are all interacting with each other, it didn't seem choppy or difficult to switch my focus from one chapter to the next. Friendship among women is celebrated in this book as they work through some of their lingering (from school days) issues with each other and recognize the value of their friendship.

As much as I enjoyed the story, several aspects bugged me a bit. For one, the faith element is minimal. Prayer was mentioned once or twice, at which the other individuals expressed surprise - not hostility, just indifference. Since this is the beginning of a series, I hope that it is further developed. Additionally, in one scene, Abby's mother, in a discussion with Abby about the sad toll that Alzheimer's has taken on Caroline's mother, indicated that suicide would be her choice if she discovered that she were losing her own mental facilities. While she didn't use the word suicide, her comments still supported the concept of euthanasia. Abby seemed a bit surprised at this but shrugged it off that her mom was always a little quirky. Finally, Marley's son is gay, as is her boss. While that is a current reality in our world today, I wish the issue had been handled differently in the book. There was no indication that anything was amiss with that lifestyle. Marley seemed to view her son's partner as a son-in-law; each time she talked with her son, she would send greetings of love to his partner. I know many parents struggle with how to love a child unconditionally while speaking truth about the choices that child is making; I would have preferred it being portrayed that way rather than the politically correct, tolerant, "anything is fine" viewpoint that those scenes seemed to convey.

The above issues are a relatively small part of the story, but they keep a good book from being great. I am interested in what happens in the sequel and hope that the faith element and the book's social concepts are strengthened. I enjoy edgy fiction containing relevant topics, searching individuals, and non-believers, but it's important to me that a Biblical worldview is at least presented. Otherwise, nothing sets it apart from any other secular book.


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Andi said...


I have not read this book yet. I just recently received it, and I've been busy unpacking. I don't know if you've watched your parents care for and then make the heart wrentching decision to put their own parent(s) in a care facility because of Alzheimers. I have. While euthenasia was not a thought I know that there were several nights that I personally prayed for my gramma to die. She didn't know any of us and she would've been better off. As for the gay issue, I am a mother of a daughter who has chosen that lifestyle. She was raised knowing that it is a sin, she will be 21 in July. I can't tell her that over and over because all it does is turn her away. I do treat her partner as a daughter in law and love her as my own. I believe that it is what God has called me to do, along with praying that the faith she had as a child would be returned to her. Hopefully that gives you a different view point.

Mocha with Linda said...


Thank you for your comment. I ache for the heartache your family experienced in caring for your grandmother. I certainly did not intend to disparage the difficult road families walk when they have a loved one afflicted by Alzheimer's or other disease process. My FIL died last year from complications related to Alzheimer's, and I have buried both of my parents who had difficulties in their later years. In such instances, death can indeed be a blessing as we know those folks - if they are believers - are now completely healed and whole. However, to categorically declare that suicide is the answer goes against Biblical teaching and usurps the beauty that God can bring from ashes and the "perseverance, character, and hope" that come from our trials (Romans 5:3-4).

Regarding the other, if you will read my review carefully, you will see that I acknowledge the unconditional parental love many of us have for our children. Yet, as I stated, many struggle with how to balance that unconditional love with setting boundaries and following the Biblical teachings against alternate lifestyles. There's a huge spectrum of responses between the two extremes of shunning and embracing/condoning (although the Bible does say we must be willing to "hate" our family when we follow Him.) Additionally, how one responds to one's own child, under the leading of the Holy Spirit, is also a separate issue from a public (such as in a book or teaching) and general affirmation of a specific action. My point was that I wish this had been portrayed in the novel, as opposed to accepting it as normal and ignoring what the Bible says about it.

Some folks justify their acceptance of certain behaviors by saying that Jesus dined with "sinners" and he showed compassion to the woman caught in adultery. That is true. But he also said to the adulterous woman, "go and sin no more," and others, such as Matthew the tax collector and Zaccheus, also had a life transformation after their encounter with Christ. We certainly have all sinned and no one stands before God as righteous unless covered by the blood of Christ. However, Romans 6 is clear that we are not to use God's grace and forgiveness as an excuse to sin.

Have a blessed Easter as you celebrate Christ's resurrection.


Andi said...


In all the years I've studied the Bible and taught it, I have not found a scripture that supports the idea that suicide is a sin. After my cousin committed suicide I researched and found that it is a "legalistic" doctrine of the church. In college I wrote a paper about Judas and I believe to this day that he is in glory with Christ. He had no intention for Christ to be killed he believed he would force Jesus to take an earthly throne, once he saw what was happening to his Lord, and Savior he was so overcome with emotional grief and guilt he ended his life; and not knowing the beautiful outcome of the resurrection he had no idea that there would be forgiveness and redemption for what he had done. I believe to this day that he is in glory with Christ. Christ knew his heart as He does with each one of us.
As for the other, I do not believe that the scripture from Matthew 12:48-50 where Jesus says: "Who is My mother and who are my brothers? And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said "Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother, and sister, and mother." Means that I am to disown, or shun my daughter because she is not walking with Christ. Billy Graham was asked what he would do if his child was gay and he answered he would love and accept them all the more. This girl has been dealt some hard knocks . . . diabetes 9 days before she turned 13. A father that made her mother sick to hide his cheating, and abused her and her older sister. Does that give her an excuse? No, yet it does make her question why the Heavenly Father that she trusted didn't protect her. I can't make it right in her mind or heart. What I can do as her mother is keep on loving her. Stay active in her life, and pray for God to soften her heart, and bring someone along side of her that she trusts that will lead her back to Him. I share this with you because there are not a lot of parents in my shoes and it may help those understand what it is like.
~ Hugs, Andi