David C. Cook
A story of overcoming the troubles that come with being a fifty-something white female in our current society, As Young As We Feel by Melody Carlson focuses on four women in a small town on the Oregon coast. The main characters have experienced broken relationships and past life experiences that they must overcome. With a heart-warming but predictable plot, the novel teaches its readers about the importance of having a core group of friends.
Carlson’s latest book is split into thirty-three chapters with each focusing on one of the four ladies’ personal thoughts and actions. The four protagonists were childhood friends who lost touch during their high school years. At their thirty-fifth reunion, they are suddenly thrust together by a random turn of events and rekindle their former friendships. This idealistic meeting among long-lost friends may seem far-fetched, but the relationships between the women are given some depth. When facing the unknown, the women must lean on each other to survive and succeed.
Abby, Marley, Caroline, and Janie have each experienced rough circumstances in life. From the death of a spouse, to the end of a marriage, to a tricky situation involving elderly parents, it seems as if this book covers it all, each character perfectly facing her own set of issues. As the story progresses and the relationships deepen, they each realize their great need for one another and seem to be drawn to the small town in which they all were reared. By leaning on each other and on God, they face what might be in their futures.
The women in these stories are strong, independent, and open. In a surprisingly short amount of time (and using language that is current with younger generations), these women build relationships in which they are able to share their deepest concerns with women they know only for a short time. This issue is explained by the connection these women had in childhood, but it still sticks in the mind of the reader as somewhat implausible.
As I put this book down, I did feel some satisfaction and honestly enjoyed the author’s writing style. The concept is unique and interesting, but the idealistic qualities may strike the reader as overly winsome and make her skeptical. This book may appeal more to Christian women in their thirties and forties, although drugs, pre-marital sex, and homosexuality are all included and are not condemned. With an interesting plot and engaging style, some enjoyment can certainly be felt when reading this book, but it is not for skeptics who are side-tracked by idyllic coincidences. – Rachelle S. Bontreger, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Once upon a time in the little town on the Oregon coast, there were four Lindas—all in the same first-grade classroom. So they decided to go by their middle names. And form a club. And be friends forever. But that was 47 years and four very different lives ago. Now a class reunion has brought them all together in their old hometown—at a crossroads in their lives. Janie is a high powered lawyer with a secret load of grief. Abby's a lonely housewife in a beautiful ocean-front empty nest. Marley is trying to recapture the artistic free spirit she lost to a unhappy marriage. And the beautiful Caroline is scrambling to cope with her mother's dementia and a Hollywood career that never really happened. Together, they're about to explore the invigorating reality that even the most eventful life has second acts.and there's no statue of limitations on friendship.