So I’ve often railed against Christian fiction because it’s corny. Amongst other reasons that I’ve chronicled. However, when family friend Beth Vogt wrote a couple of books I thought that I’d revisit it. So I pushed aside my prejudice and opened my arms to read Wish You Were Here.
Allison is about to marry high school sweetheart Seth. She hates the dress and is mildly panicked about the whole affair, but is convincing herself that it’ll turn out fine. A week before the wedding she kisses Seth’s brother, Daniel. And then she runs out on the wedding. I pretty much saw it coming, not only because the summary told me what would happen but because Seth was a complete control freak. Allison gave in to his every whim and it irritated me. The rest of the book is Allison picking up the pieces of her life and rediscovering who God is.
Okay, I actually liked Allison a lot, but only after she broke up with Seth. He kept trying to win her back and she held him off. I was so proud. What typically drives me crazy about fiction of this type is that the characters are so trite, but Allison had some serious history and baggage. I liked that she had a job that she loved and that she was real. She dealt with all the crap of life like I do, by avoidance. I liked Daniel. He was kind of ridiculous and sweet, but frustrating. Beth developed his character pretty well. He travelled a lot and sent Allison postcards as he roved the world. Thus the title. I liked the fact that every chapter started with a postcard written by him, until the last chapter. I loved the llamas and the fact that their names were from The Emperor’s New Groove. But the thing I loved most about this book was that it took place in an area I knew well. I knew exactly where the characters were and it was cool to place them there in my mind’s eye. I also knew some of the stories that events in the book were based on and I giggled thinking of them. When you know the author, the book takes on a different meaning. It was pretty cool.
Okay, the next paragraph includes SPOILERS, so continue at your own risk.
Two things kind of irritated me. The first was that Allison simply told Daniel her secret. She hadn’t told Seth, but Daniel made a brief, albeit strong, inquiry and it all just came out with little hesitation. I think that might just be me being nitpicky though. The big thing was the ending. I always have issues with endings. Allison had just gotten out of a serious long-term relationship and at the end of the book she’s with Daniel. Granted, it took a while to get there, but she never had a time of simple peace between relationships. She was pretty much in constant turmoil, or at least that’s how I saw it. I was really pulling for her to tell Daniel that she needed time alone for a bit, but instead she was united with him with little hesitation. In fact, she sent him a postcard, indicating that she wanted him back in her life. It was only a couple of weeks after the main drama! But I digress. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m single and have never had romance that causes me to critique the “happy ever after” endings.
Honestly, other than those things, I really enjoyed it. So Miss Beth, if you ever read this, I couldn’t put your book down. I took it to work and read during breaks and finished in about 24 hours. I also desperately wished for an audio version so I could listen on commute.
My review of her second book, Catch a Falling Star, will be coming soon!