I have to admit that it was more determination to finish what I had started than a deep interest in this book that kept me going to the end. The plot seemed to meander off in all direction, and even now I'm not sure of the intent of the book! Was it to see a rather different way of handling a tough life choice? To share the frustrations of dealing with recalcitrant teenagers? To take us through the struggle of living by faith? The author put a lot of effort into detailing the frustrations felt by the main protagonist, Beth, but the ending came so abruptly it left me feeling like she had lost interest in the story, and just wanted to finish it off as quickly as possible.
I did feel challenged myself by the way Lisa Simon handled taking Beth outside of her own comfort zone in relationships with others; how she came to see that people outside her own immediate circle had cares, concerns, and motives for their actions that were different from hers, but still had great merit. Beth underwent a huge attitude change in the way she thought about those around her; all of us could benefit from a similar willingness to look below the obvious outward surface of strangers. She moves from someone who resents the presence of a "Jesus fish" on her vehicle to someone who sees that practical Christianity in action is what is required of a true follower of Jesus Christ.
The character development in the book is well done; the reader can "see" the various people described. If you enjoy a book of vignettes, and are not troubled by lack of a start-to-finish storyline, you will likely enjoy reading it.
Have you ever been lost and confused with your life and where it was heading? Have you ever questioned your spouse and his or her decisions? Have you ever had problems with your child that you did not know how to handle?
In this book Beth is a Pastor's wife. Her husband Rick is struggling to make a tough life decision and goes to extreme measures to talk to, and hear God. When he abandons his family ad locks himself in the shed, his family struggles to understand and keep moving forward.
I found myself sympathizing with Beth as she struggles with her own identity. She does so much for other people and feels as though everyone is watching her (she IS the pastor's wife after all). Her struggles are real and many of us have been through similar situations.
I found this to be a good book. Parts were slow and other parts were intriguing. I found myself reading faster to see if Rick ever came out of the shed. The end was pretty expected in my opinion. Since this book revolves around a pastor and his wife, there is quite a bit of religious talk but it is not overwhelming.
***This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an open and honest review***
In this novel, Beth's predictably crazy world is knocked sideways when her unpredictable husband backs out of the family's summer vacation. The reader tags along with her as she lives a life of faith and honesty in the sometimes messy world of learning about her relationships, going out of her comfort zone, committing to a cause or just sitting silently listening to God.
This is one of those books that you look forward to each day, and find hard to put down after just one chapter. It is effortless reading; the dialogue is completely genuine and the narrator has a light, easy-going, let-your-hair-down personality.
Beth is as unpretentious as you can get. She is my hero, as she impulsively plops herself in the midst of strangers and dangers on several occasions. She opened my eyes to how other people in other places, churches and families feel the same feelings and frustrations, even frustrations with our own idealistic, weak selves.
I could relate to Beth's indecision over the family holiday, how we dance around the point with teenagers, and the frustrations of a large, contemporary church service. What I didn't get was why she was so upset and offended by her husband's need to retreat to the backyard shed in solitude, to work through a tough, career-changing, life-changing decision. Since she'd been a pastor's wife for many years, I didn't think that she would be so shocked over that. Consequently, I kept waiting for the main conflict of the plot to reveal itself, and never felt like I knew what direction the story was going in.
Yet The Sky Beneath My Feet inspired me. It warmed and entertained me, and challenged my faith. I saw myself in contrast with some of the characters, and wished I was more like them. Afterward, having been taken out of my comfort zone for a while, I'm glad I made the trip through this book, because I see the beginnings of an attitude shift in myself. I would certainly recommend this book and this author to others, especially those that would be willing to read it with an open mind and heart.
I originally chose this book because the author came to speak at our writer's group several years ago, and gave us a refreshing dose of her down-to-earth personality and her passion for walking in the steps of the disadvantaged people in our society. I'd also read another book by this Christy Award-winning author that I loved, so I knew beforehand where this one was coming from. But it was full of surprises nevertheless.
I believe that challenging our attitudes and perspectives is Samson's forte, and she does it with gentleness and humility.
[Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneezeÂ®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review, and the opinions I have expressed are my own.]
I enjoyed this book. It was neat to have a book where the main character was older with teenagers - facing difficult issues. Many books seem to be romance stories where the boy meets girl and then the story ends. It is nice to have a story that involves characters already married and dealing with life's issues. The book was very well written. Sometimes it was hard to determine what the author's point of view was on an issue --- but at the end the author does a nice wrap up that really ties the whole book together. Beth seems to be searching and trying to discover meaning in her life. I think many of us that gave up our careers to raise children eventually face this issue --- what do we do now that the kids are older and raising them is no longer our job in life. Where do we put our focus? What do we do with our time? A very good book. I recommend reading this one.
Excellent Character Development; Thought-Provoking
February 25, 2013
When Beth hears that her husband is being told to take a month-long sabbatical from his position of Men's Pastor at The Community church, she first doesn't know what to make of it. As she begins to dream of a Florida beach house, however, she finds that her husband, Rick, has instead decided to spend the month in the shed in their backyard, apart from his family. Beth's brother, Gregory, suggests that perhaps this month is as much, or more, for Beth's benefit as it is for Rick's - a suggestion that Beth finds ludicrous. At first. As the month goes on, and Beth finds herself in new, and what some might call crazy, situations, she begins to look at life differently. Maybe this month isn't as crazy as she thought, or maybe, it's just the right kind of crazy.
If you're looking for a romance book, or a mystery book, or any sort of fast-moving plot book, this isn't it. However, if you're looking for characters that draw you in and make you think and keep you thinking about them even after you've put the book down? This is the book for you. Lisa Samson is so good at character development, that it's easy to forget that there isn't much "happening," per se, in the story. Yet, the reader can feel the characters stretching, and growing, and changing, and it makes the reader want to change, too. Beth starts as a pastor's wife who doesn't even want the Jesus fish on her car, to someone who begins to see just what it means to symbolize Jesus to others. She watches her husband's "everything Fast," and wonders if it's wrong to isolate ourselves into seclusion "thinking [we can] find God if [we] can just shut the world out. But what if God's waiting...not in here...but out there?"
You can't read this book and not wonder if there's not someone you should be helping, or wonder if your church is really being Jesus' to the world around him. You can only hope to be changed through a journey like Beth's and have your own eyes opened to the people living around you.
I give this book 4 stars. I think this one is going to stick with me for awhile.
I received a copy of this ebook from Thomas Nelson, as part of their BookSneeze program, in exchange for my honest review..