Reviewed by Deena Peterson
She Makes It Look Easy by Marybeth Whalen
"Marybeth's second novel grabbed me from page one and kept me up into the wee hours of the night."
I'm sure men do this to some degree, but I know women are guilty of it more often. We see someone, another woman. She's thin, attractive, has a wonderful husband, a beautiful home, great kids....and we compare ourselves. Somehow, we usually end up coming up short in the comparison...thinking...
"She Makes It Look Easy"...right? Well, easy isn't alwasys as it appears to be, as illustrated in Marybeth Whalen's new novel. This story drives home the point that the grass isn't always greener, and if it is...it's usually because of astroturf.
Ariel Baxter isn't the best with details and organization unless she views it all through the lens of her camera. Her hobby has blossomed into a legitimate business venture, and her photographs have earned her a house in the suburb of her dreams.
Moving means leaving the familiar behind, though, so when Ariel's new neighbor, Justine Miller, reaches out in friendship, Ariel is so there. But their lifestyles are so different. Justine's house is neat and orderly, her kids are well-mannered and quiet, and her relationship with her husband makes Ariel's relationship look like chaos.
Believing she can learn a few things from the woman who makes life look so easy, Ariel gets drawn into a relationship that seems genuine at first. Justine's advice on who to befriend and who to avoid in their suburb seems helpful at first. And patterning her life after Justine's makes sense to Ariel...at first.
When the cracks begin to show, Ariel is tempted to ignore the signs that all is not as she first believed in Justine's life. By the time the story has fully unfolded, we all realize that no one's life is as perfect as we imagine, and our own portion is what we make of it.
Marybeth's second novel grabbed me from page one and kept me up into the wee hours of the night. The story read like a much cleaner version of "Desperate Housewives Meet Jesus--Kind Of". Her characters were drawn from everyday life, with the same ins and outs of living we all deal with.
I loved Ariel from the start, believing in her ability to get it together and to hold it there...for at least five minutes! My own way of life tends to be scattered, and I tend to compare myself unfavorably. But watching the interaction in this neighborhood made me want to stick to living my life and not attempting to live someone else's life instead.
I'm giving "She Makes It Look Easy" four out of five bookmarks, with a recipe card as a charm. God's giving you the ingredients to live the life He designed for you..so follow His recipe instead of digging in someone else's cookbook.
Deena Peterson is
the mom of 8, with an active two-year-old grandson! She's also a pastor's
worship leader, Bible study leader, and homeschool mom.
She stays so busy she meets herself coming and going! Visit her at her blog A
Peek At My Bookshelf.