David C. Cook
In Stretch Marks, author Kimberly Stuart takes eco-friendly Mia on the ride of her life, all the while pulling readers right alongside her on a realistically portrayed adventure of being a single, pregnant, twenty-nine-year-old woman living on her own in Chicago. Mia’s anti-marriage boyfriend, earth-conscious lifestyle, and less-than-perfect mother-daughter relationship all leave her unprepared for the first bump in a road full of twists and turns. With a growing whisper of God’s love and guidance always in the background, Mia’s journey of uncertainty, new beginnings, and love has only just begun.
When Mia Rathbun finds out that the reason she has not been feeling well is more than a virus, she is scared to reveal her secret to anyone, even her close friend, Frankie. Once she finally builds up the courage to tell her boyfriend the truth, it appears that things are going to work out after all. That is, until Mia finds herself alone and pregnant. As the months pass, Stuart takes readers through the different stages of Mia’s pregnancy as new friends are made, old friends draw closer, and Mia’s once small family continues to grow as she realizes just how many people are supporting her.
Kimberly Stuart develops her characters very well, placing them in real-life circumstances and giving them realistic flaws. By the end of the book, we feel like we could pick up a phone and give one of them a call. It is easy for readers to relate to the characters through their good and bad times, from Mia’s becoming friends with a pregnant teenager, to Adam’s comforting Mia when they run out of chicken at the grocery store (don’t ask... just read and you’ll see).
At first, Mia seemed to have it all together: she did yoga with her friend Frankie, had a great relationship with her boyfriend, was working a steady job in the field of social work, and had been seeing a therapist regularly to help her get over being abandoned by her mother. One thing Mia was lacking, though, was a relationship with God. Stuart brings a message of God’s grace and love into Mia’s life in a subtle manner, not forcing it down her or the reader’s throat. Mia learns that she is not alone and that she does not need to be afraid, for “the Lord is my light and my salvation- whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1 (NIV).
Stretch Marks is a wonderfully written book. I highly recommend it, especially to women, although men could get a glimpse of what pregnancy is really like. Once you pick up this book, it is hard to put down until you have reached the end. – Nicole E. Dynes, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Mia is a granola-eating, sensible shoe-wearing, carbon footprint-conscious twenty-something living in a multicultural neighborhood in Chicago. Her mother, Babs, is a stiletto-wearing Zsa Zsa Gabor type who works as an activities hostess on a Caribbean cruise line . and if you guessed there's some tension there, you'd be right. Factor in an unexpected pregnancy and Mia's idealistic boyfriend—Lars is such a visionary he doesn't believe in the institution of marriage—and the mother-daughter relationship is, well, stretched very thin. As is Mia's sanity when Babs shows up to help.
Actually, Mia has a whole neighborhood of quirky characters who want to help, including her BFF Frankie, a magenta-haired librarian; Silas, the courtly gentleman of indeterminate age who lives downstairs; and Adam, proprietor of the corner grocery store where Mia shops. But it's Adam—endearing, kind, possessed of a perfect smile and impeccable Persian manners—who ultimately charms Babs and rescues Mia from more than one mother-induced meltdown. Could it be that Mia and Babs might actually be able to get along?