Sunday, May 4, 2014
Just 18 Summers
Just 18 Summers, a novel by Rene Gutteridge and Michelle Cox, is inspiring, emotional, and God filled. This novel is told from the point of view of four different families and takes place after the tragic death of Butch Browning's wife, Jenny. Each family is at a different stage in life as well as parenthood and as the summer flies by they come to realize that the time they have with their children is precious and will not last forever. Butch, after losing his wife, has to deal with the struggles of being a single parent for a grieving eight year old little girl, as well as feeling lost and hopeless with grief of his own. The Anderson's are faced with an fast approaching empty nest as well as their daughter marrying a young man they know nothing about and do not yet approve of. The Buckley's, who are the Anderson's neighbors, are so focused on providing their kids with everything they could need and more that the have forgotten what their children desperately need from them, love and attention. The fourth family, the O'Reilly's are expecting their first child and dealing with the doubts and emotions that come with becoming a parent for the first time. Each family faces the truth of what really matters, that they have a limited time together as a family and need to make each moment count.
As I was reading this book I found myself laughing and crying throughout. I truly enjoyed this book, and even though I am not a mother myself I found that I could relate to what the characters were going through because of the fact that I have a little sister who is 12 years old and turning into a teenager faster than I would like. This book reminded me that time with her as a child is very fleeting. I need to make the most of her childhood now while I can. Pretty soon she will not want to be tucked in and kissed every night, she won't want to cuddle with me while watching a movie, and she probably will not ask for my advice like she does now.
I found that I within the four families I enjoyed reading and elated most to Butch's story, not because I am a single parent, but because my father was a single parent during my baby years, and I know first hand how much of a struggle it can be to provide everything for a family on your own.
The biggest takeaway for me from this novel is that I have to make every moment count. Life is short, whether or not we want it to be. We need to make the most out of every situation, good or bad. My favorite part of the entire book came on page 363 when I read this quote, "God is not at all restrained by time. What I've perhaps wasted, he can multiply miraculously." I love this quote for various reason but mainly because it is true and gives the reader hope in God, hope for mending the wasted moments in life.
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Tyndale House Publishing in exchange for my honest review.