Friday, April 2, 2010

As Young As We Feel by Melody Carlson

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing

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

Melody Carlson

Watch the Video:


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.

As Young As We Feel is the kind of book that gets my attention immediately. I have always been drawn to books that explore relationships and friendships. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this one. Unfortunately, I’m very disappointed. Disappointed to the point I’ve been fretting for days about volunteering to participate in this blog tour. I don’t often give a personal review, but with this one I feel compelled to do so.

It’s my opinion that the first thirty pages of As Young As We Feel are extremely problematic. Those pages were a bumpy ride (or read) for me. Ms. Carlson must have settled into her story by page 50 because I found myself settling in too, and not being as offended by things that yanked me out of the story.

I did like the POV switching with each new chapter. Carlson handled this skillfully. However, the dialogue doesn’t seem real to me, and neither do the characters. They are older women who came across as teens, and I can’t help but think that Carlson hasn’t successfully made the transition from writing for teens to writing for adults. The depth of story and character is sorely lacking in this book. In fact, it borders closely to a first draft.

I know as soon as I post this review, I will regret it. I don’t like offering negative comments about something that can’t be fixed. I discussed this with my critique group who challenged me to be honest. Christians are honest, they said. But then my husband says, “Is telling the truth worth hurting another person?”

I guess the thing that bothers me the most is that I’m putting myself in Carlson’s place. I think someone let her down. Who was it? Her critique group? Her editor? Melody Carlson is a story teller, but her writing needs the fine eye of critique partners and a good editor. This author has written as many as 90 books. I don't care how many books an author publishes, she should never quit learning and she should always strive for writing excellence ... in spite of a deadline. Quality should always trump quantity.


Anonymous said...

Jess, I do feel you were being honest and straightforward here. No one likes or wants to hear a bad review of her work, just as no one wants to hear her baby is ugly. But this is your blog. If you don't feel comfortable recommending this book, you have to say so and say why. Otherwise you compromise your blog's integrity and your integrity. I don't think this was a mean review.


I think Jan's comment is "right on". If you are going to join the multitudes of the author's friends and family saying, Oh, it's sooooo good!" then you should not critique. Would you want your Doctor to tell you, "You are doing fine!" when he really thinks you have two weeks before you croak? It's just too bad that she didn't get your critique before she published and embarassed herself. Tore

The Voice said...

Your honesty is just one of the things I love about you. I would prefer you tearing my writings apart than to be lied to.

As a matter of fact let me know whenever you have time and I'll send you a story to gnaw on.

Andi said...

Great review! Very honest and even. :)

Luke said...

Exellent, honest review. It takes strength to be honest. It's so much easier to tell a fib, but that doesn't serve our craft, it weakens it. True friends tell us the truth. Good job, Jess.

P.S. The premise of this book is so promising. What a shame.

Debra Harris-Johnson said...

Your honesty is the quality I too love most about you. I think writers especially have to be thick skinned. I would want to know the truth about my work. This is how you grow as a person and in your craft.

prashant said...

its nice ,It's just too bad that she didn't get your critique before she published and embarassed herself.
home jobs india

Jess said...

Thanks for your comments regarding my review but it's important to remember that my review is MY OPINION only. Ms. Carlson has written 90 books. That has to mean something! Sure some are better than others but that's the way it is with ALL writers--published or unpublished--some are better than others. Please don't write her off because of one review. I would like to encourage you to go to the bookstore, read a chapter or two of this book and form your own opinion. You could totaly disagree with me; you might walk out of that bookstore with your own copy of As Young As We Feel by Melody Carlson. If so, please come back and tell me what you think.