Sunday, March 31, 2013

Book Review: Healing Fiction

I received a complimentary copy of Invisible: a Novel by Ginny L. Yttrup from B&H Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are solely mine and written only for this review.
     Many people struggle with their self-image. They search near and far for their identity, which hopefully they realize is not a visible, tangible value they can attain on their own, but rather their identity is in the Invisible. Ginny L. Yttrup does a superior job writing characters that capture many personalities and character qualities that really spread across the gamut of diversity. The struggles faced in Invisible are all to familiar and common that almost any reader could relate to something, seeing something of themselves in the three ladies.
     These three at first glance lack any tie of commonality. However, as the story progresses these women all see the good in others, but condemn themselves for the issues at hand. Ellyn, a middle-aged, attractive woman who happens to be a chef, has a heart of gold. People go to her restaurant not only for the warmth of a good meal, but also for the warmth Ellyn exudes. The biggest issue for her is she doesn't value herself as good enough to be loved by a man. She blames her weight problem for feeling shame, but her lack of self-esteem runs deep to her core.
     As does the anorexic struggle of sweet, young-with-an-old-soul Twila. The daughter of a health food store owner, Twila has always known how to eat properly. However, as she can't control who loves her, she finds solace in controlling her weight to the extreme. She meets Ellyn after treatment and together they assist the other's healing process.
     Outsider of Mendocino, Sabina, a counselor on sabbatical, rents a home for a year to hide from life. After what she deems a failure at her practice Sabina can't seem to move forward and blames herself for another's pain. The worst part is she has lost her faith in God and does not look anywhere for help, but inward. Thanks to quick friends whose loyalty runs deep Sabina finds that she doesn't heal anyone, but works has a divine instrument. As these women fellowship more with one another they help each another see themselves as God sees them.
     Yttrup develops the characters in a seemingly, natural manner. I began to wonder how she was going to carry the storyline for almost 330 pages. She does so seamlessly. The characters are multi-faceted and engaging. Each chapter is written in the first-person of the individual characters. I had a rather clear perception of the characters by the end. Their actions and thought processes were well integrated. My heart ached for these women. Yttrup possesses a sensitivity to the spiritual demonstrated by the power of her words that stir spirit and mind alike. Mendocino's streets became real. The salty sea air hung about while the cypress canopies shaded the day.
     The author does a wonderful job getting into the heads of these characters with modern-day issues. Invisible spoke to me on many levels, as I have battled self-esteem, body-image issues since I was 13. I struggled until my 30s to see myself as God sees me, made in His image. My heart yearned for these characters to have the breakthrough that took me so long to accept and live by.  Ellyn suffers from fibromyalgia, which I know the pains of all too well. Each lady in Invisible can validate something of one's struggles as they read. I hope and pray that such a work as this will open the eyes of readers, so the Invisible becomes visible. Imago Dei!


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