Thursday, April 10, 2014
Just 18 Summers by Gutteridge & Cox
The novel revolves around 4 different families in different stages of life. We read about a man adjusting to being a single father after the death of his wife. A couple who is learning that providing things and opportunities for their children does not replace the need for relationship. There is a pregnant woman who is consumed with created a safe environment for her newborn. And finally a couple struggling with letting go as their children go off to college and get married. Each family must ultimately learn to trust God and make the most of the opportunities given.
I really liked the overall message of the story. I'm glad to be reminded that the 18 summers go by fast and I'd better enjoy them while I can! That being said, some of the characters in the story were so "over-the-top" that I could not relate to them...and they were somewhat annoying. For example, the single dad needs to make cupcakes for his daughter. He thinks the way to do this is to bake a 9x13 cake and then use a cup to "cut out" the cupcakes...really? My six year old is smart enough to look at the back of the box and know what pan to use. It's little things like this that disconnected me from the characters.
Each chapter is identified by the name of the character whose point of view is being presented. While it was interesting hearing a story from many different viewpoints, this was a bit confusing during the first half of the book. At the beginning of each chapter I'd have to stop and think...Hmmm...Now which family does he/she belong to? The last half of the book was smoother reading because I was more familiar with the character names and relationships.
Again, the overall concept and message of the book are wonderful. I just wasn't crazy about the character development. For those who read the book and want to take action to make the most of their remaining 18 summers, the authors have created a website with articles and resources at www.just18summers.com.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale in exchange for an honest review.