New Look for a Bestselling Author's Mother-Daughter Collaboration
Erin Walsh thinks her family is as close to perfect as it can be. When one grim diagnosis is all it takes to shake her family to the core, she wonders if they can ever go back to they way they were. Erin's attempts to go about life as usual feel empty and as each member of her family seems to struggle alone, she is about ready to give up on God. However, Erin has yet to learn that God will never give up on her.
Bestselling novelist Oke is a mainstay in the Christian fiction market but, unfortunately, this newest offering, coauthored with her daughter, falls flat, despite a promising plot. Dana, a young teenager, is diagnosed with a terminal illness and her solidly Christian family deals with the resulting turmoil. Oke and Logan make a noble attempt to show that Christian families don't always enjoy rosy lives in the midst of suffering and affliction. A teen son strays, a younger child feels neglected and a sister struggles with bitterness toward God. Yet despite chapters of narration describing the family's daily life before the cancer wreaks its havoc, there is little character development. The book is wooden where it has the chance to evoke deep emotions. For example, when the siblings wait at the house for the call telling them Dana's bone-marrow transplant surgery is completed, sister Erin notes, "We were all a bit anxious." No kidding. There are a few sweet moments, including one in which Dana's little brother, Corey, chooses a spot for his tree where she can see it from her window. However, everything is wrapped up quickly, neatly and unbelievably in the end. After pages of bitterness over her sister's disease, we see the younger sister's attitude toward God changed in a few paragraphs. This passionless story falls short of other titles in Christian domestic fiction, including Oke's own work.