- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (September 1, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781434767745
- ISBN-13: 978-1434767745
- ASIN: 1434767744
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 125 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,343,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Reinventing Rachel: A Novel Paperback – September 1, 2010
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About the Author
Alison Strobel, whose father, award-winning author Lee Strobel, instilled her with a love of stories at a young age, lives in Colorado with her husband and two daughters. Alison writes women’s fiction (Worlds Collide, Violette Between) and authors a blog.
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This book was hard for me to read. For one thing, there was way too much just telling, and the piles of details got laborious to wade through. Most of the book presents the string of bad decisions Rachel makes in trying to shun God. I did not find these interesting, but I kept reading, because I expected her to come to her senses after a while. [ Might be considered a mild spoiler - - - Although there was the start of Rachel changing, it never went far enough. There were hints of better things to come and perhaps a happy ending down the road, but it doesn't happen here.] I felt I had wasted my time. The strong, satisfying ending I expected never came.
Rachel ends up down a road of alcohol and confusion as her friend pulls her further and further from where she is comfortable. Her roommate begins to withdrawal from Rachel and spiral out of control almost maniac depressed. One minute happy the next tearing the apartment up and accusing Rachel of stealing money. Bills start not be paid when Rachel has given her share so she must take over the bills and dip in her savings. The added stress is causing Rachel to drink more she is showing up at work smelling of alcohol and even drinking secretly on the job. When a late night argument with her roommate causes her roommate to stumble and fall down the stairs Rachel is a mess and when she discovers her roommate was using meth and has died Rachel doesn't know what to do she just wants escape from her life and pain. Will she find God? Or will God find Rachel?
Having thought that her life was perfect because she was a perfect Christian, Rachel was thrown for a loop when suddenly she realized that not everything was as it appeared to be. Typical of her age, I suppose, she made all the flaws she discovered in her parents, friends and fiance all about her. Angry with God and disillusioned with faith, she took off running as far and fast from God as she could.
As she tried navigating life on her own, without God, her character becomes very, very real. She makes a long series of blunders, starting with moving in with a childhood friend who was very much into the party scene and ending with a stint in a psych ward. In the end, she discovers a whole new set of friends... Christians, the way God wants His children to be... loving, compassionate, and as real and imperfect as Rachel herself has become.
It's a story of a woman's spiritual journey that takes us through the heart of addiction, the tragedy of loss, and the hope of recovery. I would have given it five stars, but I would have liked to have seen more when it came to how Rachel felt about the issues that her roommate was into, and how that affected the character. there was such wonderful detail about every other aspect of Rachel's journey, but almost none at all about the mental breakdown itself.
I loved this book so much because the author was willing to question even the most treasured aspects of mainstream christian culture. She was bold enough to honestly explore how the non-believers in the world feel and rationalize. She wasn't afraid to take the path of Daphne's life to it's logical conclusion of a life totally separated from God. By the end, all that was left was a genuine, simple relationship with Jesus.
If you are honestly seeking after God but have become cynical about the cultural traditions and sugar-coated hypocrisy of mainstream Christian culture, this is a wonderfully refreshing book to read. Be warned - this book gets real in the middle. Almost shockingly real.