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Monday, June 25, 2012

Everyone's a Winner Today! Ann Lee Miller's Kicking Eternity

Note: Anyone who leaves a comment on today's post will receive a free copy of Ann's book! Just leave your email address in a non-spam format, i.e., charactertherapist at hotmail dot com.

I'm happy to welcome Ann to my bog today by featuring a therapeutic review of her novel, Kicking Eternity. Here's a blurb about it from Ann's website:

Stuck in sleepy New Smyrna Beach one last summer, Raine socks away her camp pay checks, worries about her druggy brother, and ignores trouble: Cal Koomer. She’s a plane ticket away from teaching orphans in Africa, and not even Cal’s surfer six-pack and the chinks she spies in his rebel armor will derail her.

The artist in Cal begs to paint Raine’s ivory skin, high cheek bones, and internal sparklers behind her eyes, but falling for her would caterwaul him into his parents’ life. No thanks. The girl was self-righteous waiting to happen. Mom served sanctimony like vegetables, three servings a day, and he had a gut full.

Rec Director Drew taunts her with “Rainey” and calls her an enabler. He is so infernally there like a horsefly—till he buzzes back to his ex.

Raine's brother tweaks. Her dream of Africa dies small deaths. Will she figure out what to fight for and what to free before it's too late? 

For anyone who's ever wrestled with their dreams.

When I started reading this book, I was brought back to my own camp days, both as a camper and a staff member. The close knit community that comes from working together toward a common goal is truly an interesting thing to be a part of.

In Ann's book, not all the camp staff actually hold that goal, and it makes for intense after-hour conversations! Cal embodies the type of people we encounter every day...those who have had a bad experience with faith or with church or with believers. Drew embodies those people who follow God at great personal cost. And Raine is caught in between the two in a delicious romantic triangle that will not leave you disappointed!

One thing that struck me from reading this book was the depiction of Raine's brother's drug addiction--so much so that I emailed Ann to ask her if she had personal experience with someone who did methamphetamine. My county in California has a high meth use percentage, and I see the after effects and the enabling so much within my practice. Ann's fictional account of how desperate people can be who are addicted to substances is totally accurate. Raine's actions are honest, and come from a good place, but she is an enabler, and Drew's calling her out was awesome. Someone needed to do it.

Raine's struggle to handle the intense attraction for non-believer Cal also was well done. Her internal dialogue and prayers show her true heart to follow Christ, but pitted against her carnal nature, it's a toss up for the reader. I loved the way Ann ended the book, and the message that all things work to the good of those who believe in God is quite clear.

However, I'm now anxious to read Cal's story in The Art of My Life, which debuts in September!

Let's Analyze: Have you or someone you know ever had to deal with someone's drug addiction, someone who you cared about? Ever have to show some tough love and not enable their own self-destruction?