Sunday, February 17, 2013

Come to the Table - Book Review

Some books are so lyrical, the prose rains down from the page (Peace Like a River). Some are so well-written you delight in the way the words were put down (Anne of Green Gables). Some books, like Neta Jackson's Come to the Table read more like a movie than a book.

While I admire Jackson once again for tackling issues that are often left untouched (race issues in the church, urban problems, homelessness and food pantries), her writing didn't do it for me. There were just so many details in the book (who was eating what, who was going where, what so-and-so was wearing), and the characters agonized over every conversation they had, meaning we re-hashed it all with them a la high school crushes, that getting to the meat of the story wasn't easy. (Just like getting to the meat of that sentence. Ha.) I found myself just wanting to sit the characters down and say, "You tell him what you want to say. You tell her. Okay. Done deal." Instead I watched them dance around issues, drop hints, and get frustrated that their two-minute conversations were constantly interrupted.

The main character of the book, Kat, is learning about poverty, Jesus and food, feeding the hungry, how to help. All good and necessary topics for Christians to explore. I wish the issues were explored more thoroughly, but at least they opened up areas to think about. (I remember that Jackson's Yada Yada series also brought up good topics). The transformation Kat undergoes seems realistic and easy to follow. But overall, I feel that the book could have just been written better. Harsh, I know. But there it is.

One problem I had with this book was that one of the characters is HIV-positive, and a lot of the information shared about living with someone with HIV is, as I understand it, incorrect. FYI.

If you're looking for an easy read, likable characters, and a straight-forward plot, this book might be for you. If you want really good writing, a story to lose yourself in, and depth, you may want to keep looking.

Note: Booksneeze has provided me with a complementary e-book in exchange for my honest review. The opinions are my own.

1 comment:

Lauren said...

Allie, sometimes I think you should be a professional book critic! You're really good at it!