Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Michelle Sutton's It's Not About Me ~ Reviewed
It's Not About Me (Second Glances Series #1) (Paperback)
by Michelle Sutton
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Sheaf House Publishers (September 1, 2008)
When a young woman's life is shattered by a brutal attack, she is torn between two brothers, both of whom claim to love her. She is attracted to both, but which one does she love? How can she choose when her decision may cause a permanent rift between them? And more important, will she give her heart to the One who will sustain her even when human love fails?
Read the first chapter here.
It's Not About Me is a deeply character driven drama about choices and relationships. Teen girls will especially connect with Annie as she struggles with her feelings of attraction and her doubts, the pressures she faces, and a tragedy that changes her life. Secondary characters deal with heavy issues as well, and I'm glad to see that there will be a second story that looks deeper into the lives of Annie's friends.
Issues such as sexuality, alcohol and the differences between real faith and religion are covered in depth. Plenty of drama and twists to keep the pages turning,and loads of truth to keep the focus on hope and restoration rather than the ugliness of sin.
Overall, Michelle Sutton's freshman novel is solid and lays a foundation that will no doubt win some fans who love what she is serving up. I would recommend the book to older teen girls without reservation unless they are very sheltered. Younger teens would benefit from the decisions made by a couple of characters that demonstrate both good or bad consequences. The book offers some heavy make-out sessions and some violence so I would recommend that cautious parents read the book before turning a kid loose with it. However, compared to what's on television and the internet, this edgy-for-Christian-Fiction novel is tame and offers hopeful food for thought.
Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer
And a bonus:
I applaud Michelle Sutton for asking the tough questions of life in this book directed towards teenagers to read. It was refreshing to see an author tackle the subjects that no one wants to talk about . Michelle has created a book that teens can use to start talking about the uncomfortable issues. They can now say to a friend, "Hey, I just read this book and it was talking about..." I have to say that in the beginning it took a little adjustment to read the description of how Annie's boyfriend was touching her. But I later felt it was this would help to describe what goes on between a man and a woman; things that may lead to situations that are hurtful in the long run for both parties. There is no doubt about what not to do and how fast things can get out of control. I loved how Michelle made these characters come alive.
Annie is your typical teenager just going through the motions of life, trying to be "good" and doing all the "right" things because she goes to church and that's what is expected of her. Then the unthinkable happens to her; she starts to see life in a whole new light. She questions everything and starts to listen to that still, small voice that is piercing her heart. Her boyfriend, Tony, can't take what's happened to her and goes out to deaden his pain in ways he hadn't done before. He is totally unavailable to Annie and her pain.
This adds to Annie's whirlwind and she loses her purpose in life. Everything has changed.
Tony's brother, Dan, reaches out to Annie and her family as a friend. Everyone is devastated about what has happened to Annie. Everyone feels uncomfortable, and no one knows what to say. Dan is able to talk to Annie and her family and pray for them. And, ask those questions they hadn't thought of before and help them see things from a different point of view. God's. Michelle asks questions in her book like: "If someone goes to church all of their life, does that make them a Christian?"; "Just because someone one professed with their mouths to be a Christian, are they?"; "What makes a Christian?"; "Is pornography dangerous? What could it hurt to look at these magazines?". "Why do bad things happen to good people?"
I loved how Michelle tackled these and other matters in her book. Teens many not run to their parents to get these questions answered, or even feel comfortable asking the questions in the first place. I feel that Michelle is helping bridge the gap between teens and their parents. This could give teens the courage to talk to their friends about these tough issues. They now have a tool and can start talking about the book and let it go from there. Thank you Michelle, for bringing a book that I think will really touch the lives of many teenagers. It's a book that draws you in right from the start, be prepared to stay up late once you start reading "It's Not About Me". Michelle makes you want to find out what happens next -- I couldn't put it down; you won't be able to either!!
Nora St. Laurent – Book Club Servant Leader