David C. Cook
She Makes It Look Easy by Marybeth Whalen strikingly portrays the dangers of misplaced trust and the freedom that comes with true friendship. Ariel Baxter believes everything will be perfect when she moves into her dream neighborhood, but even with her new organizational notebook things are less than ideal. Arielís neighbor, Justine Miller, flaunts her perfectly organized life; yet, in reality her whole world is falling apart. Ariel discovers how to respond in difficult situations as she wrestles with a world where faÁade is taken as fact.
Whalen shows her readers two completely different women through dual-perspective writing. One chapter probes into Justineís secretive thoughts whereas the next explores Arielís confused loyalties. Justineís dark side is a direct foil to Arielís trusting disposition. It is a dynamic relationship that clearly illustrates the folly of absolute trust in another human. This is most evident when Ariel, prompted by the promise of Justineís friendship, ignores her instinct to tell her husband about her wild night out. The emotional distress in this scene compels readers to evaluate their own priorities.
The frantic mother of three boys, Ariel longs for the peace and organization of her new neighbor, Justine. However, when troubling news of Justineís marital unfaithfulness reaches an innocent Ariel, she must decide whether blindly to support her neighbor against the rumors or to pursue an ugly truth. Faced with undeniable proof, Ariel finally faces the lies of perfection she has believed and ultimately opens her heart to the only perfect friend.
The believability of Arielís character shines through her flaws. Because she is a messy mom who does not have it all together, readers can sympathize with her struggles and successes. The ups and downs in her spiritual life also give a sense of reality to her personality that seems to lift her off the page. Her interactions with other characters are meaningful and serve to further the plot through authentic dialogue.
Whalen does an excellent job of speaking to the insecurities and struggles of women in She Makes It Look Easy. Through Arielís difficulties readers realize that only God is worthy of absolute trust and that true friendship requires honesty. This simply written but gripping novel would be a good addition to any Christian womanís personal library. Ė Anna Soden, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Ariel Baxter has moved into the neighborhood of her dreams-and the chaos of raising three children moved with her. Then she meets her neighbor, Justine Miller. Justine ushers Ariel into a world of clutter-free houses, fresh-baked bread, homemade crafts, neighborhood playdates, and organization techniques designed to make marriage better and parenting manageable. Soon Ariel realizes there is hope for peace, friendship, and clean kitchen counters. But when rumors start to circulate about Justine's real home life, Ariel must choose whether to believe the best about the friend she admires or consider the possibility that "perfection" isn't always what it seems to be.