12/29/2010

Book Review: Divine Appointments

I just finished reading Divine Appointments by Charlene Baumbich. This book introduces us to Josie Brooks, an efficiency consultant who helps struggling companies (they all appear to be banks since they seem to all have the word "Mutal" in them - I suppose they could also be insurance companies. It's never really said, and while not important to the plot line was something that I kind of wish had been stated. If only to get a feel for the type of people she was working with.) streamline and bring in automated systems. Then she recommends which employees are no longer needed. She's mid-40s, single, and entering menopause (which seems young to me) as well as having a bit of a mid-life crisis as she evaluates her pared down, no strings lifestyle. Josie's latest contract puts her in the path of Larry Waters, a VP at Diamond Mutual, as well as several other considerably more likeable and sympathetic characters than Josie herself. As Josie finishes up her contract at Diamond Mutual, she begins to reevaluate her life and look for what she's thirsting for, starting her on a path of self-discovery that is only tangentially hinted at being a spiritual need rather than anything physical or mental.

Overall I would put this book at solidly ok, neither really good nor particularly objectionable, though for Christian fiction I found it surprisingly devoid of Christ. There are good people. There are good people who pray. But that's as far as it goes - it very much could be construed as praying to any sort of higher power for self-discovery. Even the mention of the "religious" grandmother who had an impact on Josie's life culminates in the remembrance of the hymn Count Your Blessings. (And they don't even quote the part that mentions seeing what God has done -- just the naming them one by one part.) I'm not really sure what audience I would recommend the book to though - I honestly feel like I'm too young for the expected demographic (though I'm in my mid-30s) but I can't see someone in the same age bracket (or older) as Josie having any patience for her. I also felt like the ending was rushed in comparison to the belaboring of the setup.

This book was provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing.

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