Monday, March 2, 2015
A Thing of Beauty, by Lisa Sampson, tells the story of Fiona Hume, a former childhood actor who has left the Hollywood scene behind and has been largely holed up in a dilapidated old mansion in Baltimore. When the story begins, we find a 32 year old Fiona broke after having squandered all her earnings. She's been emancipated from her parents since she was a teen, she is still trying to figure out where she fits in the world, and she has just placed an ad for a roommate to share her old, run down house which has basically served as a place for her to hide from life and hoard all the old bits and pieces of old furniture and other cast-off belongings that she hopes to one day make into art.
When Fiona interviews potential roommates, she meets Josia: a kind and talented older man who barely sleeps and eventually spends all his spare time woodworking and helping Fiona fix up the house. The two develop a friendship, despite Fiona's resolve for them to live separate lives, and she gradually gains the confidence she needs to face her own issues, and re-examine her relationship with her parents and the other people around her.
Sampson tells an interesting story here. Overall, I really enjoyed the book. The thing that I enjoyed the most, however, was also the very thing that made it frustrating. Though it was fiction, it was a very life-like story. We were often inside Fiona's head, which was wounded and messy and meandering. Fiona, and the book, tended to trail off in different directions, just like life. This is probably not the book for you if you prefer neat and tidy Hollywood endings, as it didn't really have one. It reminded me of the ending of an independent film..... a little vague, kind of abrupt, but also sweet and hopeful. I felt like I got to witness personal growth, and it really was a "thing of beauty."
There was a small amount of mildly strong language in this book (which I personally found really refreshing, as it made it more realistic), that's only worth mentioning because it seemed to bother some reviewers. This was not your typical "Christian book", which in my opinion made it even better, Again, just like life, it showed that a beautiful story could be found even beneath the not-so-beautiful exterior.... and that life can be hopeful and worth living, messy and imperfect bits and all.
*I received this book for free from the BookLook Bloggers program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*