Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Book #64

Take One, by Karen Kingsbury. Unabridged audio.

I mentioned a few posts ago that I read a fair amount of Christian fiction, and this is another from that category.

This novel has the advantage (for me) of dealing with a subject of interest to me (film-making) and not being a romance. Along with authors like Dee Henderson and Terri Blackstock, Kingsbury is able to write christian fiction that does not automatically scare off men. For this category of fiction, that is not common.

The story itself revolves around a pair of Christians making a low-budget movie in and around Indiana University, a movie that they believe can change the world. The men, formerly foreign missionaries, see the movie business as their new mission field. How they overcome the multiple issues in the filming of the movie are central plot points, as are the dramas involving a pair of IU undergrads, who land small parts in the film.

All genres have their particular conventions, or expectations. As a matter of fact, it is these conventions that put a work into a particular genre. Genre readers have expectations, and the role of authors is to meet those expectations. Christian fiction is no different, and this novel certainly fits the mold. Miracles happen when needed, Christians behave better than non-Christians, and standard American evangelical theology and politics are presented.

That being said, there were some pleasant surprises here. I liked that artistic vocations were portrayed as not being "second-class" compared to traditional mission work. I also liked how struggles and doubts were portrayed among some of the younger characters. There is a bit more subtlety and nuance here than christian novels usually have, with the exception of the Hollywood stars, who act exactly as you think they will. And the little I know of the film business seemed to track with how Kingsbury portrayed it.

There are more books in this series, and I expect to pick up the next one soon. I am curious about a few of the characters, and want to see what is next for them.

I appreciated the fact that the audio version of the book included two male voice actors, and two female. This made it possible for the multiple POV characters to have distinct voices, a nice bit of production.

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