Friday, September 18, 2009

The Familiar Stranger (book review)

Craig Littleton's decision to end his marriage would shock his wife, Denise . . . if she knew what he was up to. When an accident lands Craig in the ICU, with fuzzy memories of his own life and plans, Denise rushes to his side, ready to care for him.

They embark on a quest to help Craig remember who he is and, in the process, they discover dark secrets. An affair? An emptied bank account? A hidden identity? An illegitimate child?

But what will she do when she realizes he's not the man she thought he was? Is this trauma a blessing in disguise, a chance for a fresh start? Or will his secrets destroy the life they built together?
Okay - you guys know me. I'm not a fan of anything serious. Just look at my movie collection. If you can find a good drama in there I may have watched it once, but there's no guarantee. I figure there's enough drama in life that I want to laugh and love with my movies and books.

With that in mind, "The Familiar Stranger" is out-of-genre for me, but I stumbled upon Christina's blog a few months ago and wanted to help support her when it released. Being sick for a month offered plenty of time to sit back and read, so I picked up TFS...five hours later I finished it.

I love that the entire book is written in first person, but through TWO point of views! Berry dictates at the beginning of each chapter if you're in Denise's head or Craig's head. This draws you into their lives and hearts as they struggle to uncover truths, deal with their findings, and figure out what to do next. This first person experience lets you feel their anguish and jubilation throughout their journey.

From the Christian perspective Denise is a fabulous example of grace and forgiveness. She isn't perfect, and her immediate reaction isn't always what it should be, but that's what makes her genuine. What makes her admirable is that even in the midst of her pain and turmoil, even after she gets angry and screams, she always goes back to God and mends her ways. Her strength truly comes from Gob, because she makes come hard decisions that would not be possible without the strength and grace of a Savior.

Walking with Craig through his recovery and discovery is eye opening. It's tense and exhilarating to be in his head as he struggles to figure out who he is. Each revelation brings a new challenge. His self-discovery keeps you on edge waiting for each new nugget of information.

Overall I really enjoyed this book. I like the realism of the pains and struggles of these characters, but it would have been hopeless and depressing without the foundation of Christianity. Even though things don't work out perfectly, it's not the fairy tale ending that I usually read, but there's hope because of God and the faith the characters put in Him.

This is a book I can easily recommend.

No comments: