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Kicking Eternity Paperback – June 28, 2012
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About the Author
Ann Lee Miller earned a BA in creative writing from Ashland (OH) University and writes full-time in Phoenix, but left her heart in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, where she grew up. She loves speaking to young adults and guest lectures on writing at several Arizona colleges. When she isn’t writing or muddling through some crisis—real or imagined—you’ll find her hiking in the Superstition Mountains with her husband or meddling in her kids’ lives.
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As a Christian I love to read fiction that has themes of faith running throughout the plot. What I do not like, is when I feel an author is preaching at me. I not once felt that Ann was trying to preach to me. Ann creates this beautiful picture of the reality of a Christian's walk with God. Christianity is not a free pass from pain, anger, hurt, and frustration. And it is certainly not a free pass from the need for physical intimacy. Miller addresses this side of life from a Christian point of view beautifully. Her characters are real and genuine, and as flawed as everyone else. From Cal who openly doubts his faith, to Raine who is struggling to determine what God really wants her life to look like, to Aly who is seeking love from everyone but the One who can give her peace and comfort. This is a realtable novel to people from all walks of life. Miller does a fantastic job showing that Christians are real people who deal with the same issues that everyone else faces.
This is a book that I would highly recommend to anyone. Period.
Raine's job for the summer is a Bible teacher at summer camp. Cal the camp art teacher and Aly her roommate have taken it upon themselves to educate the naive Christian girl. Will Raine be able to stand up for her beliefs or will her faith be rocked?
Then there is Drew, the camp music director who grew up teasing Raine by constantly calling her Rainey. Still holding on to the girl he was sure God told him he was going to marry even though she dumped him 6 years ago. Drew and Raine have chemistry between them, they both are believers, they pray together, they encourage each other, but with each of them having their hearts tied to someone else they determine to tamp down their attraction to each other.
Set in New Smyrna beach Florida, Kicking Eternity is a perfect summer beach read. While Raine's confusion over Cal and enabling of her brother Eddy frustrated and angered me at times, waiting to see how the relationships played out kept me turning the pages. I also found myself taken back to my younger days when I was less mature in my faith and allowed temptations to govern my actions, so I found Raine's character very relatable. Ann Lee Miller writes real characters facing real-life temptations and struggles with faith that I think every young person can relate to.
I am all for people finding Jesus, and love and success for that matter. I can't even imagine determining who God wants them to marry and actually committing to that over the course of the summer. But this book was all about the happy endings. Not the worst critique, really.
I think it would be a good book for a younger Christian reader.
One strong positive: The characters pray a lot together for all sorts of things. And this reminded me to pray more for all things that I worry about. (Phillipians 4)
First of all, I love the name Raine and it has always been one of my favorites, so I pretty much loved her character before I even knew her. But Raine is the perfect character. While there are a few main characters, the center is Raine because she is like the sun that all the other characters revolve around. Their lives and relationships are seen because they are in Raine’s life. Raine is a strong character that knows what she wants and is willing to do anything in order to reach her goals and dreams, which creates problems and love triangles within her life.
I found the beginning of the book to be slightly confusing with all the characters. I wished there had been a better overview of them because it felt as if we jumped into their lives without warning or introduction. With this many main characters, you really need to get a sense of them so it becomes less confusing. But the story does easier to follow the further you read and the connections between characters is more visible.
The element that I love the most about Kicking Eternity and Miller’s writing in general is the reliability factor. This was a real story with real characters facing real problems. Not in the sense that it actually happened, but everyone struggles with their dreams, relationships and faith. It is refreshing to read a book that has events that wouldn’t happen in a Hollywood movie, but in real life.
Faith is one if the strongest elements within Miller’s books, but the way in which she delivers it is unique. In no way does this book push religion down your throat. There may be religion in the book, but it focuses on faith and self-acceptance. It doesn’t matter what you believe, the basis of faith in this story is figuring out who you are and what makes you happy. Faith is just the key to having these feelings within the characters’ lives and it helps them to realize their true potential.
Overall, I loved Kicking Eternity. Anne Lee Miller is one of my new favorite authors. I cannot wait to read the rest of her books in this collection.