Thursday, January 28, 2010

Becca by the Book

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Becca By The Book

Zondervan (January 1, 2010)


Laura Jensen Walker

Laura Jensen Walker is an award-winning writer, popular speaker, and breast-cancer survivor who loves to touch readers and audiences with the healing power of laughter.

Born in Racine, Wisconsin (home of Western Printing and Johnson’s Wax—maker of your favorite floor care products) Laura moved to Phoenix, Arizona when she was in high school. But not being a fan of blazing heat and knowing that Uncle Sam was looking for a few good women, she enlisted in the United States Air Force shortly after graduation and spent the next five years flying a typewriter through Europe.

Her lifelong dream of writing fiction came true in Spring 2005 with the release of her first chick lit novel, Dreaming in Black & White which won the Contemporary Fiction Book of the Year from American Christian Fiction Writers. Her sophomore novel, Dreaming in Technicolor was published in Fall 2005.

Laura’s third novel, Reconstructing Natalie, chosen as the Women of Faith Novel of the Year for 2006, is the funny and poignant story of a young, single woman who gets breast cancer and how her life is reconstructed as a result. This book was born out of Laura’s cancer speaking engagements where she started meeting younger and younger women stricken with this disease—some whose husbands had left them, and others who wondered what breast cancer would do to their dating life. She wanted to write a novel that would give voice to those women. Something real. And honest. And funny.

Because although cancer isn’t funny, humor is healing.

To learn more about Laura’s latest novels, please check out her Books page.

A popular speaker and teacher at writing conferences, Laura has also been a guest on hundreds of radio and TV shows around the country including the ABC Weekend News, The 700 Club, and The Jay Thomas Morning Show.

She lives in Northern California with her Renaissance-man husband Michael, and Gracie, their piano playing dog.

Sales clerk, barista, telemarketer, sign waver...

At twenty-five, free-spirited Becca Daniels is still trying to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up. What Becca doesn’t want to be is bored. She craves the rush of a new experience, whether it’s an extreme sport, a shocking hair color, or a new guy. That’s why she quit her bookstore job, used her last bit of credit to go skydiving, and broke her leg.

And that’s why, grounded and grumpy, Becca bristles when teased by friends for being commitment-phobic. In response, Becca issues an outrageous wager—that she can sustain a three-month or twenty-five date relationship with the next guy who asks her out. When the guy turns out to be “churchy” Ben—definitely not Becca’s type—she gamely embarks on a hilarious series of dates that plunge her purple-haired, free-speaking, commitment-phobic self into the alien world of church potlucks and prayer meetings.

This irrepressible Getaway Girl will have you cheering her on as she “suffers” through her dates, gains perspective on her life’s purpose, and ultimately begins her greatest adventure of all.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Becca By The Book, go HERE

Reviewing books brings the wonderful opportunity to discover new authors, as well as the chance to enjoy books by authors I'm already familiar with. I thoroughly enjoyed two of Laura Jensen Walker's earlier books, Reconstructing Natalie and Turning the Paige, so I was happy to see this one released. Unfortunately, I was disappointed. I am not a "prude"; in fact, I am annoyed with Christian novels which are overly saccharine and sappy. I have also defended some books that have a few "bad words" when I felt like it was in character for the non-believer that was speaking them. However, this book went over the top. I was dumbfounded when the first three words of the book took God's name in vain. (I guess I should give the author credit for not trying to pull a fast one and slip it in somewhere!) What's more, Becca used this language several more times throughout the book.

I appreciate the message the author was trying to communicate in the story. As believers, we often use "church speak" or "Christianese" in our converasations, which is indeed very confusing for the non-believer in our midst. We do need to speak plainly when we are ministering to folks who don't know Christ. I also recognize that showing Christ-love to the hurting world will result in our encountering sarcasm, ridicule, and yes, even cursing. However, in this book the characters were more than mere acquaintances with Becca, and I hoped that one of them would at least take a stand and explain how offensive her using God's name in vain is. If Becca were truly searching and exploring what being a Christian entails, she would be open to considering a friend's request. Instead, she was flippant and the others allowed her to say whatever she wanted in the name of "loving her." (I can love and minister to a prostitute, but I don't have to let her entertain clients in my home to prove my love.) Finally, after enduring the frustrations of the story, the ending also left me dissatisfied. Humanitarianism, while it is noble and good, is not equivalent to faith-based deeds. Overall, this story had much potential but fell short of demonstrating how a life can be transformed by Christ.


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CeeCee said...

I've said it before, I need to watch my own mouth when I speak. I fight with it daily. It's funny, when I was "in the world" I never cursed, but I struggle now with those veggie words and using God's name inappropriately. His name is powerful. Angels tremble at his name... oh, oh..I'll stop there because I feel a shout comin' on. LOL.

You are a mature Christian not a prude.

Cathy said...


I appreciate your honest evaluation of this book. It sounded really good from the book's description, but I think the language would bother me too. I can take quite a lot, but I really hate to hear the Lord's named used in vain. I don't feel I'm a prude either, but I also don't always feel it's necessary to be that explicit. I mean, we know how non-christians talk, you don't have to necessarily show me. Thanks for being honest and telling it like you see it.

As I'm just a beginner at reviewing books, I hope I'll be able to do the same thing and be as honest without being offensive to the author, if I review one that I'm not impressed with.

Thank you for the great example.


bp said...

Excellent review.

golonghorns said...

Just popping over to answer your question about the treasure keeper necklaces, yes those are HEB buddy bucks. Good eye gal! :)

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Sounds very interesting. You did a nice job with this post. I know Racine, WI. Of course I know AZ too and I live in Southern CA.
I will check this one out. Thanks.

quilly said...

Hey, you finally did a book review that didn't make me itch to run out and buy the book. ;)

Don't you just hate it when you see great potential wasted?