Saturday, June 8, 2013

Book #29

Take Four, by Karen Kingsbury. Unabridged audio.

I have mixed feelings about this book, and about the series as a whole. As I wrote when I reviewed Take One, Karen Kingsbury pushed the boundaries of safe Christian fiction. She portrayed a more nuanced view of the arts and movie-making than is often seen in this genre of fiction. But books two and three in series fell back into the more typical attitudes, and were standard Christian novels.

Take Four, the end of this series (but not the end of Kingsbury's handling of these characters), contains an interesting background piece of a Christian father mocking his son for choosing theatre over sports. The father asks the son if he is gay, and this attitude pushes the son away from Christianity and towards a profligate lifestyle, of the heterosexual variety.
This was a short scene, but stands out for putting a Christian father in a bad light, on what is a delicate subject in the Evangelical subculture. It is scenes like these that make me appreciate Kingsbury's writing skill, but also frustrate me that such scenes about such topics are so rare in this type of novel. I read a fair amount of Christian fiction, and it tends to stay well within safe boundaries.
The story of Take Four continues the story of the Keith Ellison's career in movie production. He and his new partner Dayne Matthews, former Hollywood star, are working a new movie as their prior one is coming out.  But their new star, one of Hollywood's hottest young talents, is causing them trouble with his comments and actions. He is also trying to use his Hollywood charm on Bailey Flanagin, his co-lead in the film, whose own relationship is rocky, at best. Andi Ellison, Keith's daughter, is dealing with a surprise pregnancy, and is struggling with whether  to keep the baby, or give it up for adoption.
The plot moves along predictable lines, with little unexpected occurring, save for the scene mentioned above. The movie production wraps without a hitch, the prior movie is well-received, and Andi's baby finds a fine family.
There are definitely some soap-opera moments here, especially in the relationship between Bailey and her boyfriend Cody. Both need serious counseling,  and I doubt that either one is ready for a long-term relationship. Although I appreciate much of what Kingsbury did here, I doubt that I will read the next series from Kingsbury, which features Bailey as the main character.
source:  public library

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