Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Review: Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes

Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes by Robin Jones Gunn is a wonderful story -- very thought-provoking, well-drawn characters, and a good message. 

That said, let me say first that I don't much care for the name "sisterchicks" as it is supposed to be about women who are hip and groovy -- puh-lease!  But I do like the sentiment behind the appelattion: girl-friends so close, so sympatico, that they are like sisters. I like this idea as a theme for books. This is the 8th in the series, but the first I've read and I might just have to read the others.

Second, I've never been to the Netherlands but have always wanted to go and see VanGogh's homeland as well as the fields of tulips, the windmills (especially after reading The Winged Watchman!), and the canals. This book made me want to go see this amazing country even more. Gunn does a great job of describing the sites, sounds and even smells of the Netherlands. At the end of the book, she includes pictures and information of her own, fact-finding trip to the this tiny country. Lovely stuff.

The premise of the book is that Summer Finley and Noelle van Zandt have been penpals since 4th grade but have never met in person.  Finally, at the age of almost 50, they finally meet, in the Netherlands. Summer initiates the visit when she gets a "bad" mammogram; rather than dwelling on the "what ifs" she takes the bull by the proverbial horns and emails Noelle about coming to visit. As Summer's trip unfolds, both Noelle and Summer learn many truths, the first and foremost being that there are things we cannot impact and anxiety and worry are worthless; only God can help in those time of paralyzing fear or fixing past issues.
I like this book. I like Summer's character and Noelle's; I like Noelle's husband and the other sub-characters (incl Summer's husband -- a man who has just a bitty part in the story but obviously a large influence on Summer's life). I like the Christian element woven into the story without sacrificing the plot or seeming an obvious add-on.  I love the descriptions of this fantasy country -- the tulips and wooden shoes and canals and museums and other magical bits they call the Netherlands.

I highly recommend this well-written, thought-provoking story of letting go and letting God!   Having experience a "bad" mammogram myself, the fear and trepidation portrayed by Gunn are very true to life.

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