Friday, August 24, 2007

Reading Together with Blondechick14

Earlier this summer, I signed up for Jennifer's Read Together Challenge. The idea is to read the same book as your child and post about what you both thought or learned from it. (My earlier entry, our thoughts on The Egypt Game, is here.) Sunday is the last day, so I just realized I'd better write a couple quick book reviews!

I read Karen Kingsbury's Firstborn series--Fame, Forgiven, Found, Family, and Forever--because the main character, Katie Hart, is a director of a children's theater group just like the organization we're involved with, and the books had been recommended to me by several friends, and my mother, who recognized that it must be the same program. In fact, an "insider" told me that Karen Kingsbury's kids are part of the same theater organization, and one of its directors lived with their family for awhile. So when she writes about how Katy Hart runs a rehearsal, or describes the agonizing decisions directors must make in auditions, it was all VERY familiar and fun to read.

I knew right away that Blondechick14.75 would love them. They are essentially light Christian romances, a genre I'm personally not fond of, but she's of an age and a personality to enjoy them. (Just wait for tomorrow's review of a book of her choosing: Pants on Fire, by the author of The Princess Diaries!)

The Firstborn series impressed me with the author's willingness to let her characters deal with difficult issues. There were several backstories from another series, in which one character was raising an illegitimate child and another family had a child with brain damage and physical handicaps from a near-drowning. In this series, one of the marriages was realistically troubled and strained, a death occurs in one of the theater families, and the main character, Katy Hart, faces enormous temptations in her relationship to the other main character, a movie star named Dayne Matthews. (Predictably, he becomes a Christian midway through the series, but his conversion story is interesting and even quite surprising at one point, a twist she says is based on a true story.)

The other thing I liked about the series was the way the characters' relationships with God were fleshed out. When they were worried, confused, anxious--for themselves or for another character--they prayed. I thought it was great modeling for any Christian who might not have developed that kind of instinctive reaction--for example, my daughter. Also, she described how her characters sometimes heard God speaking to them. Often He would bring a Scripture verse to their minds--which is often how I sense God speaking to me--but sometimes He gave a sentence or two of direction or encouragement, and while I don't usually "hear" whole sentences from the Lord in actual words, I have definitely received from Him an overall sense about something that I could put into words just like that.

And it was this aspect that impacted Blondechick the most. We drove by an accident one day, and she told me how she had realized, from these books, that she could just pray all the time, for anything she saw or heard, and that she had been doing so. We also had a great conversation about how one hears God speaking.

Surprisingly, while she loved the romance element, the roller coaster/soap opera dynamics (always a reason why they just couldn't get together...it took 5 books!) exhausted her. After the third one, she needed a break. She also had a summer reading list from me hanging over her head--books from last year's school list we pushed off into the summer--and then the new Harry Potter came out...but she told me recently that she's eager to get back to the Firstborn series.

Overall, we'd highly recommend it for light, entertaining, inspirational reading.

1 comment:

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

I love that about fiction as well--learning about how someone sees God and experiences Him (when it's Biblically accurate, that is). The fact that you are reading together and talk about it is even better. Great work!