Book Review: The Big Love by Sarah Dunn

“Just because I'd spent so many years coloring inside the lines, it wasn't fair for me to expect perfection. People make mistakes. Life isn't fair. People change.”

― Sarah Dunn, The Big Love

Dunn's most recent book will be the passing recommended book of the summer because it is both funny and devastating, mixing the psychological incisiveness of Jane Austen with the current frankness of "Sex and the City."

Synopsis from Penguin...

When Alison sends her boyfriend Tom out in the middle of a dinner party to buy Dijon mustard, the last thing she expects is his phone call telling her that he isn't coming back. Not now. Not ever.

While Alison tries to figure out where she went wrong with Tom, she realises she has some serious catching up to do and that when freedom beckons, you'd be mad not to follow. After all, of the two men she's slept with, one was gay and one was Tom. She's got a handsome new boss, decades of evangelical guilt to offload and an urge to have undefined-yet-presumably-meaningless sex with the aforementioned boss.

But is this enough? And if Tom isn't the Big Love, who on earth is?

My reaction to this novel...

I found this book while seeking for a quick read. I didn't have any problems reading it at first because it's only a few pages long. The book's engaging start made me want to read it more. Despite the fact that I don't know Sarah Dunn and this is my first book by her, I continue reading despite my lack of familiarity with her work. In this instance, I merely want to remark that she did a fantastic job since she didn't use any difficult-to-understand phrases. Instead, she used straightforward language. Usually, when a writer uses lofty language, it pulls me out of the tale because I have to look up the meaning before I can relate. I kept reading because I liked the manner she told the story, which is very lively. I felt the uniqueness of the author's way of writing, so I enjoyed her narrative for a while.

Everything went well until she brought up Christians after having an affair with her boss. Everything I read seemed off, and the story's flow became nasty. I don't understand why so many people who suffer in this world as a result of their decisions blame it on us Christians and what we firmly hold to be true. Why put the blame on God and Christians when she decides on everything in this book that makes her happy, although knowing it's wrong? Since you made those decisions, I believe you are to blame, especially if you were a Christian previously and abandoned your faith for the same reason the character did: to satiate the desires of the flesh. I don't want to keep reading, but I'm not that sort of reader, so I gave her a chance, hoping for a shift in the narrative.

Nearly every character featured in this book was unlikeable, especially the main character. The purpose of the digressions she makes is to elucidate her personality and range of emotions, yet they fall short of endearing her. The main character must be liked or, if not from the beginning, possess redeeming traits enabling the reader to empathize with her. However, in this novel, the character's journey is spoon-fed to readers, making it less pleasurable to engage with Alison as she grows in her character. You don't get the same sense of accomplishment from getting alongside Alison as you would if the author had just let you know what she discovered and how her view of things has shifted. It is just not effective in this situation to breach the mystery rule. I was utterly let down, and I did not like reading this book at all.

Given that she heavily lambasted Christians in this book and I am a Christian, many of you may assume that I gave the book a bad review. However, I can assure you that it is absolutely upfront and wholeheartedly correct, YES I gave her a bad review because of that as well as her not-so-good story. I will not put up with a narrative in which a woman accuses Christians of being to fault for her own mistakes and decisions. I'm simply being sincere and forthright with regard to how I felt about this book and expressing that I won't suggest it to anyone, particularly Christians, since there are critics of our faith and some profanity that uses the name of our God, which is quite grating. I'm not sure if the author was formerly a Christian, but I pray God shows mercy on her for the story she penned.

My Overall Rating: ⭐(1/5)


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