DISCLAIMER: Lisa Samson does not and has not paid me for any review I have posted on this blog, no matter how flattering or how many there are. Honest. I just really like her style of writing!
But I did volunteer to review this book on my blog in exchange for a free copy! :) I definitely got the better end of that deal! For what it's worth though, impatient me did go out and buy a copy when it released in September. I'm glad I did! The extra copy? We'll talk about that later.
I wrote for a review on Amazon.com:
For me, it's about the characters. I just can't relate to the girl who was raised in a Christian home, whose parents stayed together, who saved herself for marriage and pretty much lived happily ever after with a few frustrations along the way. I've never met anybody like that in Lisa's books, and it's one of the things that keeps me coming back for more. I've always been able to see little bits of myself in the characters that Lisa creates.That is absolutely true for cousins Georgia and Fairly in Straight Up. Wasted potential, missed opportunity, inability to deal with certain aspects of life... they both find their own ways to numb the pain of the inability to deal, and they both face the consequences for their choices. These are people you meet every day. We've all been Fairly or Georgia at one time or another to some degree. There are consequences, but there is also grace from God, just sometimes it doesn't always look the way we think it will.
I'm not going to give anything away, but when I first finished reading the book, I wasn't sure I liked the way it ended. But I thought about it, and the more I thought, the more I realized that any other ending would have been wrong.
The other thing about Lisa's writing that gets me every time is the words she chooses. For example:
Jazz drives me crazy. Crazy like New Orleans on a day so hot the heat rises into your nostrils and steams your brain like a peach dumpling. You feel the humid heat waves as they spill onto the pavement from the lips of a saxophonist who loves his horn more than any woman he's ever met because the horn never disappoints him. He may disappoint himself, his woman, his mother, and the holy church, but the horn stays true and pure and loving, shining into his heart with a brassy passion, licking his soul tenderly, lapping up his affection like crème de la crème.Is that not an amazing word picture?
All in all, Straight Up is a beautiful story of mistakes, misunderstandings, grace and healing. I highly recommend it.
Now, since I do have two copies of this book, I'm going to give one away. Here's how it works - I'd like to give it someone who has never read one of Lisa's books. Let me know by commenting if you are intersted, and in a few days I'll draw a name.