Book Review: Some Kind of Normal
Debut Author: Heidi Willis
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Literary/Edgy Christian
Publisher: NorLights Press 2009
"I ain't one to bash being healthy, but it sure takes the fun out of living. My motivation to be the perfect mom starts about six a.m. when I swing my legs over the bed and ends fifteen minutes later when I stumble into the kitchen to make coffee and figure out what I can cook that won't kill no one."
Babs Babcock, her husband Travis, and their two children live an ordinary life in a small Texas town. Until page three, that is.
In that split second we all know can happen, their normal family lifestyle disintegrates when 12-year-old daughter Ashley is suddenly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. She swiftly develops some unique complications causing a short hospital stay to stretch into months as doctors work to find a cure, and she fights to hold on.
Armed with only a tenth-grade education, Babs is relentless in her search to find the cure for her daughter that doctor's say isn't there. While her home church members offer up prayers and an endless abundance of food, we witness Babs wrestle with her family, faith and science as she explores the answer to the question everyone can relate to: How far would you go to save the life of someone you love?"
From the opening line of this story, I was hooked. Although I tend to be more of romantic suspense kind of gal, I loved, LOVED this book!
Author Heidi Willis has created an entire cast of characters that are refreshing and genuine. The story is told through the eyes of main character, Babs. And I was instantly drawn in by her distinctive voice. Babs is a frank and sincere woman with a quick, sarcastic wit. Although she has her insecurities to deal with just like the rest of us, when it comes to her kids, she rises up to become as strong as she needs to be—just as all mama lionesses do. (Don't mess with our kids!)
I appreciate how "human" Babs is in acknowledging the tenuousness of her faith, which up until the point of her daughter's illness, had gone unchallenged. The Christianity element of the story is not filled with "holier than thou" preachiness, which is a personal pet peeve of mine. Instead it's filled with realistic people as they deal with the issues in their lives.
As a mom, I could relate to Babs's willingness to consider ALL options in the fight to save her daughter's life—even going up against everything she's been taught to believe, and despite the negative ripple effect this causes among her family, friends and church members. Willis has also authentically captured life parenting teens and the challenges that occur within the family dynamics are extremely believable.
I enjoy learning new things when I read fiction and Willis has masterfully woven information about diabetes and its treatment into the story in such a way that it is never boring or "text-bookish."
The tale was gripping with some surprising twists and held my attention to the very last line. (I actually found myself annoyed that I had to stop reading it to handle mundane tasks like feeding my family or taking care of household chores!) It's honest, poignant, funny and sweet. It's a story about love, about family, and about choices. I highly recommend this book—it would make a great Christmas gift for somebody on your list.
You can purchase a copy here.
About The Author
I will be interviewing the author, Heidi Willis, on the blog next week. I can't wait to pick her brain and discover all her secrets for success! Tune in next week.
*I purchased my own copy of this book and receive no compensation for my review besides the gratification that I'm helping a really great author promote a really great book.