Author: Fred R. Lybrand
Publisher: The Barnabas Agency
Rating: 2 1/2
*This is a slightly different sort of book than we usually review here. It has a strong religious/theological emphasis and the topic can be considered controversial to some people.*
Annie is a college grad student working a book for a class. Her family life is in shambles. Annie is confused about life, family, and relationships, until she meets a mysterious new professor and enrolls as the only student in his one class. He gives her an assignment: write a book about real relationships. This starts her on a journey that teaches her to tell truth from deceptions, both cultural, spiritual, and moral.
The idea of this book was good. It’s intentions were to show young adults the difference between lust and love, dating and courtship, and to teach about respect in relationships. The author used a married couple (Annie’s parents), a young couple (Annie’s sister), a ‘modern’ woman (Annie’s friend), and Annie herself, a single woman, to illustrate the difference between the types of relationship people begin and experience. The main goal of the book was to show the reader how to find out how to create a deeper connection to the ones they love, whatever the relationship.
And my little description there is about as deep as the book actually is. Lybrand is an experienced minister, teacher, and writer, but this book in no reaches the emotional level that a young adult embarking on life and trying to learn about relationships need in order to actually learn. As a woman very active in a church youth group, young adult groups, and career singles/couples groups, I think this book might be good for the kids who have been super-sheltered by youth groups and parents. For anyone else, it almost seems to talk down to the reader. It’s written extremely simplistically, almost to the point that I got bored. Annie is pretentious and, well, I hate to say it, but probably the most unengaging character I’ve read in a while. She didn’t inspire me to want to follow her journey through discovering what makes love ‘love’. I wanted to slap the notebook out of her hands and tell her to go EXPERIENCE life instead of watching others, pondering out questions that nobody ever really thinks of, and hanging out with a creepy white-haired dude who may or may not be an angel. Sorry if that’s a spoiler….
The life lessons Annie ‘learns’ were well overdue for a woman in grad school. She should have figured most of this stuff out naturally by the time she was 18 or so. I understand the use of her character to teach through the content of the novel.
The worst part of the book is that it reads like a textbook. It’s dry and flat and extremely simple. I just couldn’t really get into it, emotionally.
Glaen is a decent choice for young people just beginning to explore relationships, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone with a high intellect or who has any sort of life experience with real live humans.