Sleeping in Eden, by Nicole Baart
Here's the first line of this book:
"On the first day the leaves began to fall, Jim Sparks hung himself from a rafter in his condemned barn."
ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME??!!
Ok, so there's this general rule in the writing world that you have to have a hook for a first sentence. Something that is so good it pulls the reader immediately in. I agree with this rule somewhat, but not entirely, because who reads just one line of a book and then stops reading because it's not 'gripping enough'? Psychopaths, that's who. A first line does not, in the opinion of anyone sane, make or break a book. That being said, this is probably the best first line of a book I have ever read. And it stunned me so much when I read it, that I stopped, and read that line again and again. (*insert goosebumps or writing awe here*)
I don't even know to classify this book. It had a pink "Inspirational" sticker on it when I picked it up from the library. I guess it gets that stamp even though there are only a couple of vague references to God in the book.
*sidenote: I love Jesus, and pretty much hate all Christian fiction. It's so squeaky clean and portrays the idea that oh, if you just trust Jesus, life will clean itself up for you. What gospel are Christian publishers reading? It's not real. This book defies that mold (fist pump!) and is one reason why I love it. And I love that it's tagged Inspirational, but don't let that fool you. It's also adult contemporary and YA and a million other things. It defies genre.
You can read the blurb about the book on Nicole Baart's website.
The book is so much more than the blurb conveys. It's gripping....haunting...so authentic to human life and emotion and the incredible complexities of it. I've never read anything more 'real'. Does that make sense?
Meg's story and Lucas' story are both so raw and moving, but not in big, showy, earth-shattering ways. It's a quiet book but a great book. It just hits you, because it's so real. It feels like hearing a story of someone's life. Not someone great. Just normal people. You and me. A story of how decisions can lead to mess and how sometimes we don't say what we need to. A story of how assumptions can be our worst enemy, and honesty with ourselves can lead to the greatest healing.
Read it. You may not love it. But I guarantee you part of it will resonate within you. Five stars from me (and those are rare).