This review was first published for the Christian Book Preview site. You can link to the site by clicking on http://christianbookpreview.com
A unique, gripping novel, Straight Up breaks a lot of CBA "rules." The main characters are Georgia--a jazz musician who has neglected her "gift," and Fairly--an interior designer. They were cousins and abandoned by their parents through death. They were subsequently abandoned by their spouses. Fairly's died and Georgia's "found religion."
Both main characters went "looking for love in all the wrong places." Georgia found comfort in alchohol, and Fairly dealt with her loss through her relationships with men. Georgia continues to deteriorate until tragedy occurs. She entered "pink." Without giving you a spoiler, I'll just say that it's a very interesting place where Georgia learns a lot about herself. A minor character, Clarissa, was interspersed throughout the story, but her point of view was in the third person, rather than the first person like Georgia and Fairly's point of view. Clarissa was adopted and somewhat detached from life. She lived in a chronic survival mode and was pretty much rejected and abused by everyone. I felt so sorry for her.
For the longest time I wondered how Clarissa would finally connect with the rest of the "cast," but I won't spoil it and tell you how that happens. Let me just say that it's one of those endings that leaves you thinking for hours.
Straight Up was a gourmet meal for my finicky pallet. Let me explain why. The author gives you a blend of varying dates and characters to begin with to whet your appetite. Now I have to say at first this confused me, but once I got the feel and texture of each main character I savored the meal. Parts of Straight Up had me grieving, other parts had me wanting to slap the characters, yet I also admired them for being honest with themselves even if they weren't as honest with others. A-hem. It's called pride.
In Straight Up, the author "told it like it is." No fluff here. She gave me a glimpse into the lives of some pretty heartbroken people who looked okay--for the most part--to the rest of the world. I cared so much about them that I entered their lives. I must say the story made total sense to me. I loved how the author slipped a bit of God's perspective into the mix. What an incredibly creative way to explain things too difficult to understand outside of Christ, and then introduce Him in a way that actually attracts the reader. The author literally prepared some wounded souls for the banquet table, and you ate right along with them.
Straight Up is real, it's honest, and it's one of those life-changing stories that sticks with you for a long time. The message? You can't go back and fix the past. But you can make a difference today. I enjoyed every minute of this insightful story. Straight Up comes with my highest recommendation. Straight Up was published by Waterbrook Press and is scheduled to be released on September 19, 2006.