Sunday, December 23, 2012

One Imperfect Christmas by Myra Johnson

book cover
One Imperfect Christmas
by Myra Johnson

ISBN-13: 9781426713675
ebook: 280 pages
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Released: September 1, 2009

Source: Free ebook promotional offer.

Book Description, My take:
Natalie Pearce makes up an excuse for not going over to help her mother take down her Christmas decorations only to learn that her mother had a massive stroke later that day. Natalie blames herself for not being there when it happened and tries to redeem herself by helping her mother recover. Her mother shows no improvement, but Natalie can't forgive herself unless she hears her mother say, "I forgive you."

Natalie pushes her family away and buries herself in her work to avoid her feelings of guilt. Her marriage is falling apart and her teenage daughter is willing to do anything to get her mother back, even run away or try to get her fired. Will the coming Christmas bring an end to everything Natalie once held dear or offer a chance for healing?

My Review:
One Imperfect Christmas is Christian general fiction that spanned about a year of time. Natalie was her own worst enemy. I didn't like her attitude of "life is all about me! Why can't everyone else see that?!" She didn't care about what other people were going through. However, I could always understand where she and the other characters were coming from even if I would have reacted differently. I think I was willing to put up with Natalie's self-pitying guilt because she could see that she was messing things up but didn't know how to fix it. She often didn't like herself or her behavior but she couldn't seem to stop it.

So this should have been a book I liked: actions had consequences and a Christian character realized she couldn't fix her own behavior. I was expecting the characters to realize something new (to them) about God as the solution to the problem and to draw closer to God, but that didn't happen.

For most of the book, you could hardly tell it was a Christian novel. There were a few, brief prayers that were mainly of the "God give me strength" sort. The characters seemed to feel that God was a genie: they'd ask God to fix their big mess and make everything okay again. When God didn't snap His fingers and grant their wish, they felt they needed to help Him out by fixing things themselves (though their efforts never worked).

(Vague Spoiler paragraph): Then, in the last few pages, Natalie finally heard some words that comforted her about her mother so she no longer felt guilty about the stroke. Suddenly Natalie had a complete personality least for the day.

A lot of things in the story were never wrapped up, and I was left feeling like more bad arguments were just waiting to happen. I didn't trust that Natalie wouldn't act exactly the same the next time something happened that she "just couldn't deal with" since her enlightenment moment seemed pretty vague yet situation-specific. The ending didn't leave me feeling like the underlying problem had actually be resolved.

There was no sex. There was a minor amount of "he cursed" style of bad language.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

No comments: