From Publishers Weekly
In Blackston's debut novel, Flabbergasted, readers were introduced to the zany town of Greenville, S.C., "a huge, boiling pot of relational gumbo" where singles play "denominational hopscotch" on Sunday mornings to meet eligible men and women. Blackston picks up his tale in this less sparkling sophomore novel as told through the eyes of 29-year-old Neil Rucker, a missionary on furlough who is desperate for a date. The harmonica-playing Neil has "sampled a few regrettable grapes" in his life, and when he breaks his dateless streak, he's hoping for a respectable Christian girl he can get serious about. Beatrice Dean, 81, is a senior single who's cruising for a man (dateless streak three years and counting) and provides engaging moments throughout the story. Missionaries, we discover, are never really on furlough, and soon Neil; his new romantic interest, Alexis Demoss; the feisty Beatrice and others are headed to Ecuador to rebuild huts burned down in a village fire. Overwriting creeps in too often (blown napkins are sent "dancing on their corners, fluttering across the lawn in an airy samba of white") and scenes tend to run too long, slowing the pace. The plot is thin, with echoes of the earlier book, but the quirky characters help keep the reader interested. In the end, however, it's Blackston's tongue-in-cheek humor about the lives of Christian singles that will grab the attention of readers of evangelical fiction.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* Blackston's Delirious Summer is a frantic portrait of the Christian dating scene. Missionary "Neil of Ecuador," on furlough from his grim job as a Spanish teacher in Quito, settles in Greenville, South Carolina, which, according to a friend, is "a city of surprising complexity." Neil badly needs to get laid, though this being an evangelical novel, Blackston can't put it that way. Anyhow, the Christian girls of Greenville are accommodating but have gone a bit daft. Joined in a sort of guild called the "Ladies of the Quest," they practice serial churchgoing, "hopscotching" from Penecostal to Methodist to Southern Baptist in search of the elusive Mr. Right. He's a rare bird, indeed. Once Neil learns the rules, he has some amusing adventures among the questing ladies, but on the whole Blackston's portrait of being single and godly is rather sad. John Mort
See all Editorial Reviews
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved