Tuesday, September 19, 2006

THE SECRET LIFE OF BECKY MILLER by Sharon Hinck

THE SECRET LIFE OF BECKY MILLER by Sharon Hinck

From the back cover:

Faster than a speeding minivan, able to leap piles of laundry in a single bound. It’s a bird, it’s a plane. It’s Supermom!

Move over, Walter Mitty. Here comes Becky Miller. A young mother with grandiose daydreams and a longing to do “Big Things for God” searches for direction amid the chaos of daily life and the disappointment of failed opportunities.

Becky’s rich fantasy life helps her cope with the pressure to be a Wonderful Wife and Marvelous Mom. But she keeps hearing the tape play:

“Your mission, should you choose to accept it: support your husband when he loses his job, nurture an eccentric circle of friends, raise perfect Christian children, live a life full of grand Purpose, all while standing on your head and whistling Dixie. Your fantasy will self-destruct in five seconds.”

Camy here:

This was a funny and fun read. The Walter Mitty-style fantasy segments were both exciting and very apropos for each chapter, adding a new dimension to how the protagonist Becky thinks and feels. It added so much to Becky’s character and to the storyline.

I really enjoyed this book even though I don’t have children. Becky’s kids aren’t perfect, nor are they monsters, and the author drew me in with both their antics and how Becky handles them. I not only saw the humor, but also Becky’s angst over being a good mother. It was both entertaining and also poignant, because it reflected how I often feel in areas of my life where I think I’m failing.

The action and events move quickly—this book definitely doesn’t drag. The pace is quick-footed and light. It was a very fast, page-turning read.

I love Becky’s interactions with her Bible study friends. I think I liked it mostly because it was real. They weren’t all “bestest buds” in a rather unreal, Barbie-doll way, but their friendship was deep and yet flawed. There’s both love and tension between Becky and each of them, and between each other. Not tension in a bad way, but tension in a way that makes me as the reader want to know more about what’s going on between them, in their lives. Why are they like this? What’s going to happen next? I loved all the minor characters as much as I liked Becky.

I don’t know if teenagers would like this book—the subject matter and the protagonists might be out of their scope of interest—but I think that 20- and 30-somethings would enjoy Becky’s adventures. Or rather, mis-adventures! Older women will also appreciate Becky’s humanness and humor.

This is a fabulous read. Not to be missed!

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