Becca by the Book by Laura Jenson Walker

Here is a good example of a successful novelist getting a bit lazy. Laura Jenson Walker has written some truly excellent prose. This isn't one of them.

The Getaway Girls Club is a group of bookworms who go on trips that illustrate the novels they read. Quite a wonderful concept. This novel focuses on one Becca Daniels who is not a Christian but belongs to the group anyway. Walker leads us on a merry chase of Becca and her commitment woes. The story starts out incredibly exciting. Jumping out of an airplane is exciting, but breaking an ankle is not so thrilling. This sets up a delightful scenario for a story that truly can go places. There is a lot of fun expected when she makes this wager with her group that she can maintain a relationship with the "next guy that asks her out" for a full three-months or 25 dates which ever comes first.

So, the set up gives the reader the hairy anticipation that this story could go literally anywhere and be fun. Unfortunately, it did not turn out to be very much fun. Wisecracks will only go so far before they get a bit annoying. I couldn't tell you if Becca learned anything or not, or even if she overcame her commitment phobia. But, there was one character that shined like a beacon and that was Lucy. She was more than a two-dimensional character in a book. She lit up the page in such a quiet way that you'll miss her if you aren't watching for her. She isn't a member of the Get Away Girls and is by far a minor character. Yet, she is worth reading the book for. Isn't that strange?

At least the reader is given hope that Becca will turn out well, but you must read to the very last page. I give this is a one star story.

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Becca By The Book

Zondervan (January 1, 2010)


Laura Jensen Walker


Sales clerk, barista, telemarketer, sign waver...

At twenty-five, free-spirited Becca Daniels is still trying to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up. What Becca doesn’t want to be is bored. She craves the rush of a new experience, whether it’s an extreme sport, a shocking hair color, or a new guy. That’s why she quit her bookstore job, used her last bit of credit to go skydiving, and broke her leg.

And that’s why, grounded and grumpy, Becca bristles when teased by friends for being commitment-phobic. In response, Becca issues an outrageous wager—that she can sustain a three-month or twenty-five date relationship with the next guy who asks her out. When the guy turns out to be “churchy” Ben—definitely not Becca’s type—she gamely embarks on a hilarious series of dates that plunge her purple-haired, free-speaking, commitment-phobic self into the alien world of church potlucks and prayer meetings.

This irrepressible Getaway Girl will have you cheering her on as she “suffers” through her dates, gains perspective on her life’s purpose, and ultimately begins her greatest adventure of all.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Becca By The Book, go HERE


Laura Jensen Walker is an award-winning writer, popular speaker, and breast-cancer survivor who loves to touch readers and audiences with the healing power of laughter.

Born in Racine, Wisconsin (home of Western Printing and Johnson’s Wax—maker of your favorite floor care products) Laura moved to Phoenix, Arizona when she was in high school. But not being a fan of blazing heat and knowing that Uncle Sam was looking for a few good women, she enlisted in the United States Air Force shortly after graduation and spent the next five years flying a typewriter through Europe.

Her lifelong dream of writing fiction came true in Spring 2005 with the release of her first chick lit novel, Dreaming in Black & White which won the Contemporary Fiction Book of the Year from American Christian Fiction Writers. Her sophomore novel, Dreaming in Technicolor was published in Fall 2005.

Laura’s third novel, Reconstructing Natalie, chosen as the Women of Faith Novel of the Year for 2006, is the funny and poignant story of a young, single woman who gets breast cancer and how her life is reconstructed as a result. This book was born out of Laura’s cancer speaking engagements where she started meeting younger and younger women stricken with this disease—some whose husbands had left them, and others who wondered what breast cancer would do to their dating life. She wanted to write a novel that would give voice to those women. Something real. And honest. And funny.

Because although cancer isn’t funny, humor is healing.

To learn more about Laura’s latest novels, please check out her Books page.

A popular speaker and teacher at writing conferences, Laura has also been a guest on hundreds of radio and TV shows around the country including the ABC Weekend News, The 700 Club, and The Jay Thomas Morning Show.

She lives in Northern California with her Renaissance-man husband Michael, and Gracie, their piano playing dog.


Andi said...

I find it interesting when you review a book that you have such negative things to say about the writing yet I don't see your book(s) being published and being toured. Maybe you need to tender your reviews with a little more grace. Just a thought.

Gina Burgess said...

Just to set the record straight, Andi, I haven't really tried to get anything published. I have not had that 100th rejection, only 2.

However, I owned just less than 1,500 books and read twice as many more. I don't know any author as prolific. I do know what works and what doesn't work. I do know what is good writing and what is poor editing.

I realize I am very opinionated when it comes to Christian fiction and that is because a Christian author should strive harder, longer and deeper than any secular writer to get the message out in such a way that unbelievers would want to read because of the literary value of the work, if not because they are searching for something they do not have.

These days publishers crank out 10,000 titles a year and each book is counted a success if it sells 15,000 copies! That barely pays for the printing costs with hardly anything for the author. My standards are not too high, they are too low and that means the editors and publishers are pouring out crappy product.

I want something not only CLEAN to read but something that is really GOOD to read. I know there is a great deal of talent out there that hasn't had the chance to be published and it is truly irksome that someone who is published several times over gets lazy in their work because they "have so much on their plate" they need to have someone help them write the book as in the case of Ms Walker. It is especially irksome when Ms Walker has written some excellent stories. I feel cheated, frankly.

Gina Burgess said...

Actually, to set the record even staighter, I have had more than 145 articles published on the internet (, more than 100 feaures published in newspapers, and two articles picked up by Associated Press for national distribution. One article picked up by the National Social Workers Association and published on their website, and my blog was cited in a doctorate paper on Women's Issues. So, while I have not had a book published, my writings have had considerable local, naional, and global recognition.

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