This book was a challenging read. I enjoyed it much more after I searched out some reviews to understand if what I thought was happening, really was happening. Hope Landon is jilted on her wedding day and also the victim of a random crime. It puts her into a coma and she ends up in the hospital for about a month. The story is told from the her fantasy coma world point-of-view and that of Jack, the real-time, long-ago, school friend who sits devotedly by her bedside. I love Bette, the nurse, who encourages both Hope and Jack during this ordeal. Bette does coma stimulation therapy to try and bring Hope back to them. Later in the book she explains to Hope that some of the surroundings of her hospital stay such as smells, noises, conversations, likely played into her dreams. Quite humorous, once you know what is going on. This book is a lively story and an encouraging one about coma patients. Thanks to B&H Books for allowing me to read and review this story.
Two thumbs up for Greetings from the Flipside! Gutteridge and McKay combine to make this an book full of humor( I laughed outloud more times than I could count); a book of tears( I barely contained them); and a book of double entendre and a puzzle aimed at the reader. Some may read the book, which has two main viewpoints, and complain it doesn't make sense. However, that's the beauty of the writing style... the reader has to figure out just where the writers are taking the story, and just exactly how all the characters truly fit together. Who, for example, is Mikaela, really? Why does the grandma talk to her, but not to Hope? Where is Hope's father? Kudos to whomever named the book... I think many of the characters in some way or another hailed from the flipside.
Jilted on her wedding day, Hope is viciously assaulted in the parking lot of the church and left in a coma. The florist, who has had a crush on her since childhood, finds her and calls 9-1-1. Somehow, he ends up taking turns with Hope's certifiable mother watching over Hope in the hospital. The puzzle begins as the reader is challenged to figure out what is reality and what is not...or if what is perceived as reality can affect the actual reality.
"Greetings from the Flipside" is definitely unlike any other novel that I have read in the past few years. Rene Gutteridge and Cheryl McKay create two intertwined stories with the same characters but one big difference: one of the stories is a dream. Hope is living her life in a coma, and embarking on new adventures in her mind, including a move to New York City and a new job. Meanwhile, in the real world, she is lying unconscious in a hospital bed, with Jake, a childhood acquaintance by her side. The dreams scenes are often quirky and humorous with enough substance to build characters and a love story.
Gutteridge and McKay flip around traditional romance in favor of the unconventional. When I discovered that Hope was going to be in a coma for the majority of the novel, I was doubtful that a love story could find a foothold in the plot. Although Hope's dreams merge with reality at the end of the novel, I struggled with the concept that the relationship between Hope and Jake is built on two different planes. The strength of Jake's character and love for Hope is established early in the plot, when he drops everything to sit at the bedside of his childhood crush. In Hope's temporary reality, Jake wins her heart by exhibiting the same character qualities. I was disappointed that Hope and Jake primarily experienced their love in two different realities, and I would have found more satisfaction from more time at the end dedicated to building their real-life relationship.
"Greetings from the Flipside" pushes convention to sidelines from start to finish. Gutteridge and McKay give readers a chance to escape from reality and experience a light read with a large dose of wackiness.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from B&H Publishing through Net Galley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
One of my all time favorite books is a book by Rene Gutteridge and Cheryl McKay, "Never the Bride" - I love that book! So I looked forward to seeing what the two of them put together this time. It is one of the most original books I have ever read. I can't really say why without possibly spoiling something for future readers, but my 17 year old daughter is reading it right now and really enjoying it too. She came to me earlier today and said, "So the first part of each chapter is... and the second part of each chapter takes place...?" And I said, "Yep, pretty crazy huh?" And she said, "Yep, it's really cool!" I loved watching the two parts of each chapter cross over each other and bring everything all together. If you are looking for something original, with sweet and funny characters (and loony... don't forget Hope's loony mom!), definite conflict with a wild ride on the way to resolution then you really need to check this book out!
This is a frame story, or rather a story within a story. More accurately, it's a coma within a coma. Let me explain. The protagonist, Hope Landon, experiences the worst day of her life when she is first left at the altar, then knocked unconscious, and finally falls into a coma. Her doctor and nurse warn Hope's visitors that those in a coma hear what is being said. This only seems to encourage her "current-decade challenged" mother to frequently LOUDLY pray by reciting all of the negative things that make up Hope's sorry life. The town florist, Jake, has had a crush on Hope ever since elementary school, and he witnessed her tragic injury. He visits and brings a more positive voice into Hope's life.
The reader gets to experience Hope's coma by reading "GREETINGS FROM MY LIFE" sections which run concurrent with the storyline. We see how words and Coma Arousal Therapy translate to help or hinder. This is a humorous, light-hearted read. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Discussion questions included.
Thank you to Bonnie at Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and B&H Books for my copy.