Tuesday, July 1, 2008

F.I.R.S.T. presents A Mile in My Flip Flops by Melody Carlson

ABOUT THE BOOK: (from the publisher)
Thirty-something Gretchen Hanover is stuck. Seeking solace from a broken heart, she traded her wedding plans for home improvement shows and ice cream—but she knows she can’t live on Ben and Jerry’s forever. She also knows that her enthusiastic Lab puppy has outgrown her tiny apartment.

The perfect patch for Gretchen’s dilapidated plans? She’ll become a first-time house-flipper. As ideas go, it’s daring and genius. She’ll take out a short-term loan, buy a fixer-upper, renovate it, resell it, and use the profit for an adorable house of her own. What could be easier?

But Gretchen’s plans to flip quickly flop when the house turns out to be in worse shape than she expected. She is relying on her retired contractor-father, but he wants to draw in his carpenter friend Noah Campbell. And although Noah is handy with tools, Gretchen isn’t so sure about the baggage he brings with him. Will she be able to loosen her grip on the tools when it seems Noah may be her only help?

A whimsical look at color swatches, mismatched curtain rods, and the building of relationships, A Mile in My Flip-Flops reminds us that it takes faith to renovate the heart, as well as the home.

MY REVIEWNever say never! This is the fourth book I’ve recently read by Melody Carlson. While the other three left me not-so-inspired, I really liked this one! At first, I got a little nervous when the main character (Gretchen) started name dropping brands of everything in her life from furniture (Ethan Allen) to shoes. (LL Bean & Cohn Hahn) I got a bit worried that I was in for another story about a self-absorbed, spoiled rich girl. As it turns out, Gretchen is a kindergarten teacher who was jilted just weeks before her wedding. With her heart broken and her dreams shattered, Gretchen feels like everyone if moving forward in life while she is stuck going nowhere.

After taking a brutally honest look at herself, Gretchen decides to take her life in a new direction. Working off little more than a wisp of a prayer and a passion for home renovation, Gretchen decides to “house-flip” during her summer break from teaching in order to earn money to buy a home of her own. However, in seems God has even grander designs for Gretchen’s life than she could ever imagine! As she begins renovating what seems to be a hopeless house, God starts renovating the broken areas of her heart.

Gretchen’s house-flipping project meets with a host of challenges – contractors running behind, dry rot, busted pipes – even her dad, a retired contractor who has co-signed the loan for the project and agreed to oversee it – suffers a major health set-back. It seems as if the project is truly doomed. But the Lord introduces first one person – Noah – then another – Kristen – into Gretchen’s life, and little by little both her house and her heart begin to reflect a greater trust in God and His ability to bear our burdens and direct our paths in ways that are for our good and His glory.

This book is filled with believable characters that face believable challenges. The ending…well, I won’t spoil it, but I will tell you it is very satisfying! This is a story that is both entertaining and encouraging! I have also learned a valuable lesson myself – never say never! I finally hit upon a story by Melody Carlson that I genuinely enjoyed! Who’d a thunk it?

Oh! One fair warning! You might be kind of tired by the time you reach the end of this story! Poor Gretchen works herself to pieces in the course of this book! But then again, you might get inspired to do a little home improvement of your own! Enjoy!

Go HERE to read the first chapter!!


Melody Carlson has published over ninety books for adults, children, and teens, with sales totaling more than two million and many titles appearing on the ECPA Bestsellers List. Several of her books have been finalists for, and winners of, various writing awards, including the Gold Medallion and the RITA Award.

Visit her website here to learn more about her work

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