Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Book Review: Angela's Song

Angela’s Song is a well-written and superbly researched book--no doubts there. However, I found the overall story a bit sluggish and without much tension as a I waited for a more compelling story arc to form. It never did. Other than Jack’s initial rejection of dating Angela, this story was a straight shot to an end that was never in doubt. The real problem was Angela’s internal spiritual growth in a cocoon of Catholic spirituality, almost completely unthreatened by or unchallenged by outside elements or people with other persuasions, beliefs, or social statuses. The story was insular on that level and that’s a shame. The true strength of any conviction is not when it is supported on all sides, but when it is challenged by opposing forces but stays true to that conviction. That is the missing element here.

This message might be fine for Catholics looking for a book that reinforces the best of the Catholic beliefs, but it needs more heft to engage other readers with its positive and life affirming message. When mild hiccups in the relationship occurred or Angela had doubts, Jack always had the right answer, solution, or financial wherewithal to right the ship without breaking a sweat. It bordered on being annoying at times. Angela’s situation was a difficult one, dealing with the death of a spouse. (My latest novel deals with the same subject matter.) The authors did a good job with the stages of grief. Another solid effort was with the introduction of the back story. A lesser novelist might not have been so restrained. Finally, the authors did a good job tracking and using the little story promises along the way, including Angela’s song.

I’m Catholic, and Catholics looking for a validation of their beliefs will crown this a “5”. But from a story perspective and analyzing it as a general read, this is a tepid “4”.

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