Yeah so this is late. Internet was floofy last night. I really did enjoy Out of Her Hands though I’m not sure that comes across in the review. I think I need a new review numbering system… Five stars just doesn’t have enough nuance, I don’t think. So here’s to 10 stars with definitions probably along the lines of those at Overweight Bookshelf – at least until I come up with something witty of my own. I’ll go back and change the other two reviews I’ve done.
After we got home from Tulsa Saturday night and got the kids in bed, I opened Out of Her Hands. I finished it on Sunday. I’m struggling a bit with this because I really did like it and though my nitpicks seem to be more in the forefront than with Searching for Spice, I liked them both enough to put them on my Amazon wish list. But I still feel like my nitpicks way outweigh my likes which isn’t truly the case – for some reason, I’m having an easier time articulating them though…
I’ve hesitated about posting this because of the old ‘more nice than not’ rule and I don’t feel I’ve truly followed it. I do hope that it comes across that I did enjoy the book.
Life moves on for Linda Revere. Her kids are growing up. Before long, she’ll have an empty nest. Her marriage is good. But Nick has a secret girlfriend – someone who isn’t Christian. There are other struggles going on with Emma, Deb and even Carol, the client who befriended Linda in Searching for Spice.
What I liked:
- Linda! I still love her!
- Ross! And Doris! I love them! They can be my grandparents!
- Bert and Slim! I love Bert and Slim! I want Bert and Slim for my other grandparents [and yes, that means that I want Joyce and Harry for parents 😉 – or at least aunt and uncle].
- The studio seems to have mellowed a bit. That’s good, but I did enjoy some of the quirkiness there. Thomas and his gossip are real, if annoying ;). And where’s Pam?!
- Carol – I’m glad she’s back. Part of me wishes that Linda would stand up to her a bit, but I understand why she doesn’t stand up to Carol more than she does. I do wish Carol would ‘grow up’ or whatever a bit and be a bit less demanding.
- Deb – I love Deb. I wish her well in the life changes she’s experiencing. I kind of hope at least part of it falls through so we see her more in the next book.
- I see potential in Amber, Nick’s girlfriend. As a character, she’s probably where she should be at this point in her life. As a ‘real person’, she would have a ways to go towards becoming who she could be. I hope we get a chance to see that.
- I do enjoy the other situations the family gets in – the ones not related to parenting situations at hand. The painting choices, the Thanksgiving, the tentative steps towards a relationship with Amber [until Amber, in my eyes anyway, does something to ruin it – like the sweater thing], the weddings, etc.
- Even more than in Searching for Spice, Jerry’s perfection grates on me some. More than some at times. His solution for Nick is a good one, but he offers it without discussing it with Linda. I think it was the right choice, and I think Linda would have, too, but to make the decision without discussing it first was the wrong thing. I would have been okay with that if he’d apologized for it later, but he didn’t and she never called him on it. While he doesn’t come across as ‘holier than thou’ or anything, that he is always right bugs me. Nobody is that perfect. And it seems that Linda is always wrong. That bugs me too :).
- I was somewhat critical of Andrea Boeshaar in Always a Bridesmaid for the parental control over a grown child living at home. There, the character was practically grounded for not calling home. Here, DiMaria seems to go too far the other way – at least IMO. Nick was out all night, in the middle of a snowstorm, without calling. He worried his parents, he was inconsiderate and it seemed glossed over. Nick does say it won’t happen again, but there seems to be very little contrition on his part at that point but it isn’t addressed.
- Jerry – though his always rightness bugs me, so does his lack of stepping up at times. Nick seemed to need a good man-to-man talk at more than one point, particularly after the mall incident between Linda and Amber. While I understand his ‘no gossiping’ stance, I felt like Linda should have discussed her concerns about Nick and Amber with him at that point and Jerry should have sat him down for a heart-to-heart.
- Amber… She’s still growing. She’s not there yet and so this could very well be a part of future books, but she has a serious chip on her shoulder at times. She’s cruel to Linda at times – whether intentionally or not [the sweater party?!] – but never apologizes and never really says ‘thank you’ for everything Linda and Jerry do. At least that was my impression. She may have said the words, but I didn’t get the attitude of gratitude.
- Deb still has her head in the sand. While she’s technically accurate in her description of her relationship, it’s such a slippery slope and I think, in real life anyway, she’s going to wake up to find out that she’s had blinders on. I think it’s possible that will happen in book 3 [if there is a book 3 :)].
- Nick. We never saw him broken over what was going on near the end of the book. We never saw him grapple with his decisions, with the implications of faith and those decisions. The whole thing is from Linda’s POV but seeing some of the struggle would have been nice. He’s changed a fair bit, it seems, since the first book and I wonder about the catalyst for that change – is it Amber or did it start before that? Will he step up and be the man of God his dad and grandpa are?
- The last bit seemed… glossed over. No, that’s not right. But more of a ‘in the last six months these things happened’ epilogue type feel to the last couple of chapters. I think it could have ended fairly happily after the big deal happening in May [which would have made it a bit short, but the whole spring passed in a paragraph or two…] and then a whole other book written about what happened after that – though the rest isn’t maybe quite enough for a full book, maybe half or 2/3 of one and I’m sure other wrenches could be thrown in the works for the last 1/2-1/3 :). However, I know editors and publishers can have a big part in that kind of thing so I’m choosing to believe that they had much to do with that.
- What about Pam from Searching for Spice?
- What about the history teacher? What was the fallout from that?
- What about the fallout with Katrina’s day off?
I totally called the family connection ;). You’ll see what I mean when you read it. Just remember that I called it!
I give Out of Her Hands 7.5 out of 10 stars. I sincerely hope for a third book and, hopefully, see some resolution for Nick and Deb, in particular. And Emma who is moving off to college. I’ll read it again and I’ll be waiting for the sequel.