Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Book Review of #2 Lifted Up By Angels by Lurlene McDaniel
Author: Lurlene McDaniel
Publisher: Laurel Leaf fiction
Part of a Series: Angels Trilogy
Type of book: 1990s, Amish, community, relationship, death, angels, summer, maturity
Year it was published: 1997
The companion to the Publishers Weekly bestseller Angels Watching Over Me.
This inspirational novel follows the story of Leah and her friendship with the Amish family she met while hospitalized for cancer treatment. When Leah takes a summer job near their Amish community, she is happy to be near Ethan again. He is now at the age at which an Amish young man is allowed a taste of non-Amish life before committing to the adults' rules. Will Leah and Ethan's feelings for each other overcome family obligations?
The characters do go through changes, at least Ethan does. Leah does too, but her change isn't as visible as Ethan's is. In this book I got to see Ethan trying to be less Amish and more English, as well as learning a secret to why he didn't take a fling earlier in life. Leah, meanwhile, struggles to find acceptance with Ethan's friends and some family members. She likes the lifestyle but doesn't see it for her. There is tragedy towards the end as well, and one sees the lifestyle as well as the rules of the Amish.
Sometimes there are too many differences to be bridged.
This is in third person narrative from Leah's point of view. There is barely any mention of Leah's family and we don't get to know the mother or the stepfather. It shows the activities and traditions of the Amish. Leah decides to stay the summer to be closer to Ethan and we get to see their dates and activities they do together such as fair or camping or other things. In all honesty, I couldn't see this novel where Leah might be dealing with survival, and the ending as well as resolution happened way too quickly to my tastes.
Lurlene McDaniel began writing inspirational novels about teenagers facing life-altering situations when her son was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. "I saw firsthand how chronic illness affects every aspect of a person's life," she has said. "I want kids to know that while people don't get to choose what life gives to them, they do get to choose how they respond." Lurlene McDaniel's novels are hard hitting and realistic, but also leave readers with inspiration and hope. Her books have received acclaim from readers, teachers, parents, and reviewers. Her novels Don't Die, My Love; I'll be Seeing You; and 'Till Death Do us Part have all been national bestsellers. Lurlene McDaniel lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee. (From inside flap)
Although this is a good novel, I felt that it didn't measure up to the original novel. Ethan and Leah really have too many differences between to belong together, although seeing the Amish life and traditions is fascinating. The reader also gets to know the characters of Charity, Ethan, Leah as well as the Amish family. I felt that the author tried to push the two characters into being together, but she didn't succeed. The focus on this book is on the Amish side of life, as well as Ethan attempting to trying out "English" things like clothing, video games and so forth.
3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)