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I'll be honest, I bought this book because it was inexpensive. I didn't really have any expectations for it because there are so many dismal Christian fiction books out there that I didn't want to be disappointed yet again. While the story was decent and relatively well-written, it isn't going to set the world on fire. This book is (surprise!) a book written by Christians, for Christians. If you are a Christian and are looking for a book that won't question your beliefs, by all means get this book; however, that said, I'm really getting tired of books with Christian characters who are so goody-goody as to be laughable. I understand that Christian authors don't want to write characters who might offend other Christians, but come on! There aren't any characters in this book that aren't Christian, or at least on their way. It's just not realistic in this world today. I rarely purchase Christian fiction anymore because Christian authors just can't keep up. And until they can, no one is going to sit up and take notice. Where is an author who can connect with the millions who have become disaffected by the church; people who are holding on to their faith (sometimes barely), but who have to live in this secular world? THAT person will make millions! Guaranteed!
The story, while touching in parts, is kind of unbelievable. I know that there are babies born alive from botched abortion attempts, but I have a difficult time believing that they have memories of the trauma that surface in later years. But I'm not a doctor or therapist so what do I know? I also found it a bit strange that her birth mother has often heard a little girl's voice calling to her over the years since the procedure and when she meets Hanna she realizes that it was Hanna's voice she'd been hearing. Um...really??? I have three kids and I hear them calling to me all the time, but that's another story....
A word about the narrator (huge sigh).....Someone must have owed her parents a favor. Rachel Hendrix sounds very young, which is appropriate for this YA book. She also sounds very inexperienced. I would be surprised to find that she had actually read the book first before she recorded this. In many places her reading sounds stilted or just plain odd. My biggest complaint though is that she made absolutely no differentiation between characters; male or female, young or old. All of them were read in her voice, with no change in inflection or tone. Hannah's middle-aged father sounded just like Hanna. Her male friends all sounded like her female friends, often making it extremely difficult to tell which character was speaking. Then there is this. At times I could tell by the sound of her voice that she was smiling very broadly, often inappropriately. This made the prose and/or character sound unintelligent. It's hard to speak normally with your mouth in the wide-open smile position and the producer should have picked up on this and limited it because it was very distracting. And when it was written that a character laughed, the reader would laugh, too. This drove me crazy because it's hard to visualize a male character laughing when it comes out like a teen girl's giggle. I was under the impression that this was a narration no-no. At best it is redundant. If it's written in the text that a character laughs, it isn't necessary for the reader to do so. But, Ms. Hendrix sounds like a very happy person and I'm happy for her. I would have preferred, though, that she put much less of herself and much more of the characters as they are written into her reading. She could have done with a read-through of the book with lots of character development before she recorded it.
But I said at the begining that I didn't pay a lot for this book. I'm glad. If I had I'd likely be returning it.
My kingdom for some really great, _relatable_, Christian fiction!
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