Saturday, August 10, 2013

Forever Friday

Forever Friday: A Novel

Forever Friday is a book that, if you read it with someone else, will provide lots of stimulating conversation. It did for me. 

After a lot of thought, I am giving this book 3 1/2 stars, rounded up to four on Amazon. 
I appreciate the meaning of this story, I was moved by the power of the ending, I enjoyed the discussion of the flame of Hope in our hearts. 
Huck and Gabe had what I want to witness more of: a lengthy, cherished, protected marriage. However, I have heavy reservations about the activities that Huck and Gabe engaged in at the beginning of this book.
I can't entirely recommend this book because of them.

The two things that get to me are minor yet very disturbing amounts of alcohol and a swimsuit contest that Huck and Gabe went to view together.

I do understand that this was the 1920's. Standards were slipping and swimsuits were still the equivalent of today's jogging suits...maybe more than that! 
However, the world was changing, not (in all cases) for the better, and seeds of culture and thought were planted then and are being harvested now. 
Some of the fruit has been ugly. 
When Huck and Gabe laughed at the old-fashioned Bishop, who dared to protest the female flesh parade, Huck stated that a woman's modesty is her own business unless she breaks the law. I wonder what she would say when her  standard of decency (which seems almost humanistic, based on man's laws instead of God's principles of purity and the sacredness of sexuality) devolved through the changes of the law until hard-core porn became legal and acceptable for women?
Her words could be a feminist's rallying-cry, and they are similar to the words used today to further justify female exploitation in the name of empowerment. 
We need to think about what those remarks mean if you carry them to their possible distant conclusions. It's things like that, when you find them as you read, that you make notes about, you chew on the thought, and you mentally thank the author for raising this question through his story. 
Did people who were young then, who welcomed the new modern ideas, ever look at the results fifty or sixty years down the road and wish they hadn't embraced all of that so quickly? 

As for the alcohol, I understand that there is no commandment that says Thou Shalt Have No Drink.
I understand it is legalism to say you mustn't. 
I also hate alcohol. 
I HATE it. 
I didn't like it when I was reading about Huck and Gabe finding their way to the alcohol on their first date, and ditto with Adam meeting Yvette at the bar, and him going for a beer before his date has even arrived. 
Contrary to what the world wants to tell us, drinking is not a sign of maturity, and does not need to come hand in hand with an adult's "date." 
I can't say what they did was wrong. I can't say it was the best use of their time, their money or their physical body and health either. 
I don't think it was. 

It troubles me to think that more and more Christian authors may be feeling pressured to write it into their books....because I'm seeing it more and more often. It's almost like someone is saying that it needs to be there for the book to be "edgy" and "relatable" and "progressive" Christian fiction. 
I have never viewed a book that doesn't contain the casual use of alcohol as "Puritanical" or "Repressed" or "Hopelessly out of touch." One of my favorite literary leading characters this year was from Linda White's Seeds of Evidence, David O'Connor. 
You know what I loved so much about him? The man didn't drink! As a 30+ tough, determined homicide detective, as well as a seeker of truth beginning to ask those deep questions about God, David didn't drink! And I loved him for it.

At the same time, once you've read my thoughts on these issues, the lessons that that Gabe and Huck learn and live out in Forever Friday are excellent.
Like one wise person said, "Love is not a stone, it is bread. It must be made new every day." 
Love must be nurtured along. It isn't a thing you buy when you get married:
"One Guaranteed Life-Long Love," and you never have to tell the person or remind them that you love them ever again. 
How many times have we heard a person say "I don't need to tell them I love them, they know!" Raise your hand. (Lots of hands raise.) 
And they look shocked when you suggest that the other person needs to hear the actual words. 
I have even heard people say that they shouldn't say the words, because it is too easy to say them with no meaning or proof behind them. Actions speak louder than words, they point out. The way I act and take care of them shouts LOVE through a megaphone every day! 
And they are partly right. No word without deed is the truth.
But they shouldn't neglect those "three little words" either.  
And if you want to write it in poetry, like Gabe does, then all the better for you. 
(If they have absolutely zip skill for versifying, then they can borrow some poetry from the classic poets...properly credited, of course.) 

I can't ultimately tell you whether Soul-Mates are discovered in a moment or made over the years.
I can't tell you whether you fall in love or grow into love. 
I'm inclined to say "Both" to the last question, and give you a big "?" to the first question.
I dunno. Or as the Scottish say, "I dunna know and I kenna say,"

but I'm grateful for the chance to read this book and ponder the question! Thank you Waterbrook for sending me this one to review.

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