Thursday, May 22, 2014

Through the Night

Theisen, Lynette E. Through the Night. Dallas: The P3 Press, 2010. Print.
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My Thoughts:
A student loaned me this book to read. As often as I make recommendations to her, I was happy to oblige and read this, one of her "favorite books ever!"

Renee is a high school student bound for Harvard. She is not popular, pretty (she thinks) nor does she have a boyfriend--until the mysterious Italian new student arrives in her town. From there, things get a little ridiculous, cliched and unbelievable.

As I read this book, I realized why this book was self-published. It wasn't a horrible story, but it was full of bad writing. There were so many cliches that I was distracted. I would read sentences and think, "the author must be adding all of this description because her writing workshop said, 'add description.'" I'm not sure who Theisen's intended audience is with this book. At times she wrote the characters to be more adult. Then I'd read something that I thought, "sure, teenage girls would buy into this fantasy."

I was also bothered by the shifts in narrator. Most of the story is told from Renee's point of view. Then, it switches to a third person omniscient narrator that I guess was to propel the story. There also is an italicized conversation between two unnamed characters that showed up occasionally. At first, I thought is was Satan and one of his followers. However, later in the book, it seemed like God and an angel. I was confused.

One thing I did enjoy about the book was the mom's faith. She is strong and has a sense of peace about her, but did Theisen have to include cancer with this character? I think that was manipulating the reader. Maybe that's what I don't like most about this book. I would define this book Christian fiction (there are many scripture references and the main plot is God vs. Satan and good vs. evil). I wondered about the author's motivation. Did she write this and include the scriptures so that people would feel compelled to like the book (who wants to argue that a book filled with scripture is bad?)?

I think the story needs some more work. I also think that I've read this story before now.

1 comment:

L.E.T. Your Light Shine said...

Rachel...great post on your latest read, Through the Night. I loved your honesty and thoughts about the book. I believe feedback, whether positive or critical, is always beneficial. I think I may have some answers for you on this.
I wrote this book after my 18 year old niece was killed by a drunk driver. When delivering the eulogy at her funeral, I looked out and saw so many young kids lost, confused, and or mad at God trying to figure out how life could take such a horrific turn. After all, she had her whole life ahead of her. I had felt lead to write a book for young adults, ages 13-18, who may need to find a way to draw closer to God during the dark times they face in their lives. I tried to center it around Faith, Family, and Friends to get you through the tough times instead of falling into worldly temptations. So yes, this is definitely my very first attempt at writing a Christian fiction novel. At the time, I had no idea how I would go about trying to influence these young adults. So I just did a lot of praying. I was a stay at home mom of four and other than writing for a local paper and magazine, I had no experience in writing and have never taken any courses. It was strictly driven for my own love of writing and wanting to find a way to inspire and encourage young adults. In regards to the mom having cancer, I included this because she was the closest person to Renee. In the beginning Renee had a pretty charmed life...very orderly. WE all know life can never stay perfect or orderly so I had to bring Renee to her very darkest moment in order for her to figure out if she wanted to turn to the ways of the world to sooth her pain, or if she would choose to turn to her faith and those she loves most in order to help her overcome her life battles. I included scripture because many young people (and even adults for that matter) have never opened up a bible. I wanted to show them that the bible has amazing scripture that we can apply to our everyday life. It's what I turn to when I need encouragement and I wanted to show others it's a choice as well. I hope that answers all of your questions. Sorry for the lengthy reply. I appreciate you taking the time to not only read the book, but to blog about it as well! Respectfully, Lynette E Theisen