So, part of the problem I have with reviews is that I don’t entirely trust my initial reaction—there are books I thought I really enjoyed at the time, but I… and then there are others that I didn’t exactly like, but wound up being interesting enough that I kept thinking of it in passing later.
Watchmen is a great example of the second type—I finished reading and was fairly immediately seized with a “What the hell did I just read?” But… even now, probably a decade and a half later, I’ll still randomly start conversations with my husband about various aspects. The author’s overarching nihilism is grating and difficult to get around… but he still ended up with some interesting conceits.
As for the former… hm. Peter Grant’s Take the Star Road probably qualifies. It was a fun romp, but there was nothing that really stuck with me afterward. (I should probably still pick up some more in the series, though, because “fun, a tad forgettable” is something likely to be mended past a first novel. And again, I really liked his prison chaplain memoir, Walls, Wire, Bars and Souls.
Sometimes, it goes the other way, though. Sometimes you’re pretty sure that something’s going to be fun-but-forgettable, and then it sticks with you.
Most recently, I’ve decided this applies to Winging It!: Confessions of an Angel-in-Training by Shel Delisle. As the title implies, it’s about an angel-in-training… who manages to convince God to let her come down to earth to be a guardian angel, despite her incomplete education.
I picked it up because I was broke and bored, along with a couple of other modern-day-fantastic books out of the free section of the Kindle store. (This one, at least, is still free! Yay!) And it was a great deal of what I was looking for—a light, not-particularly-dramatic read where no one’s really bad, we just get in our own ways a lot of the time. And I gotta say—I am a sucker for an overall hopeful view of humanity.
All of this also got to why I thought it would be a very transient read. Nothing particularly bad happens. The human characters (the cast is about half-and-half humans and angels) can be pretty flat. And almost all of the conflict comes from our protagonist rushing into the unknown like a charging bull without thinking once, much less twice, about what she’s doing.
…except that last part is actually what makes it so endearing. Grace, the “angel-in-training” from the title, is a really fun character with a really clear voice and… well, probably the wisdom of a small lizard, but all the heart in the world to back it up. It puts a person in mind of when they were young, were convinced they had answers to all the problems of the universe if only anyone would just listen… and I only wish that I’d had the spirit and resilience that she displays when it turns out she didn’t know as much as she thought she did.
And I still feel this way, years after I last picked up the book. (Just re-downloaded it to my current device, so hopefully that won’t be the case for long.)
So… yeah. If you’re looking for a light, hopeful read featuring a character with more gumption than common sense, I recommend it.
Meanwhile, I’m not nearly as broke as I used to be. So hey. Maybe I’ll finally pick up the sequel!
For today’s ballpoint drawing, we have a charming family scene—me, husband, daughter. (Had I thought about it more, his tail would be curling around my ankle instead of lying on top of my foot… but, y’know, being unable to change things is a weakness of the medium.)