Rene Gutteridge’s latest novel, My Life as a Doormat, is told from the perspective of Leah Townsend, a playwright who is struggling to find her true identity in Christ. Tired of the dull predictability in her two-year relationship with physicist Edward Crowse, Leah attempts to add spontaneity by breaking some of her usual habits. A minor argument follows, and Edward signs Leah up for a conflict resolution class. From this point on, everything reliable in her life is torn to shreds, but through the pain and tears, Leah learns from the class that she cannot avoid conflict simply to please others.
The memorable characters and multiple levels of person-verses-person and person-verses-self conflict kept me turning the pages. In some form or another, conflicts arise between Leah (who ironically tries so hard to avoid it) and nearly every other character she encounters. My favorite scene occurs when Leah finds herself kneeling in church, finally seeking the only One who can give her the courage to be her true self, especially in the face of adversity.
The plot flows smoothly as Leah struggles to decide whether she will marry Edward or not. I could not predict with certainty what she would choose until the climax. She decides that she must do what is best for her life, regardless of how Edward feels.
Leah has a vivid and witty personality and is emotional and sensitive to others. It was her character, more than anything else, that drew me into the book. In accordance with their roles, all of Gutteridge’s characters have fully developed and varied personalities. Amazed, I watched Leah evolve from a submissive, placid woman to a person of strength and love.
All things considered, My Life as a Doormat is an enjoyable read. The dialogue could have been more personalized for the prominent characters, and I’d have liked more emphasis on Leah’s spiritual life; however, these weaknesses are only minor and do not hinder the plot in any way. The ending was extremely satisfying, and left me feeling optimistic about how trials and controversy can help us grow into the people God wants us to be. I recommend this book to women facing similar issues in their lives, women who love romance, and any others who are intrigued but usually pass over such novels in the bookstore. They might just enjoy this one. I certainly did. -- Bridgette L. Oakes, Christian Book Previews.com
Playwright Leah Townsend doesn't like conflict one bit, but these days she can't seem to avoid it. Her career is quickly sliding downhill. Her agent has ordered a hit-or else-and her new play is going nowhere.
Then her obsessively moderate boyfriend, after a minor argument, has the nerve to enroll her in a "conflict resolution"class. Turns out they're learning to embrace conflict and settle it fairly, not just avoid it-a distinct challenge to a woman who has spent her life not making waves.
Enter annoying radio host "Cinco" Dublin, ordered to join the group after punching out a reporter in front of his home. Sparks soon fly between Leah and Cinco, but can a people-pleasing playwright find happiness with a man who thrives on controversy? Conflict resolution has never been so fun in this lively new romp from the author of Boo.