Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Book Review: Lessons Learned

Sydney Logan and I go way back (way, way back), although I've never called her by that name. Lessons Learned is her debut novel, and I could hardly wait to get my hands on it. Honestly, I found it thrilling to read a novel written by someone I know and love: to soak in the written thoughts of someone I trust.

Even outside of and beyond my friendship with the author, the novel didn't disappoint; in fact, I appreciated many things about it. I felt like it moved along at a comfortable, consistent pace. I loved Logan's depiction of small-town America. I particularly enjoyed the "rolling" incident, also the snark in Sarah as she contemplated the Sycamore Falls sign and remembered Shellie's accident in high school.

But, above all, I valued the way Logan raised questions like: how should we respond to those who embrace different belief systems than the ones we hold dear? What if--because of these people's close proximity, or for safety and other reasons--turning blind eyes isn't a viable option? How do we best honor God in these situations? Is anything ever really black or white, cut and dry? How do we determine when to fight and when to walk away? Can anyone ever really go home again? And how, and at what point, does someone determine that a particular job or town isn't a good fit for him or her?

I look forward to reading whatever Sydney Logan produces, next. I would encourage her to write more humor, also to allow herself even more freedom in exploring the topics that weigh heavily upon her; I found the romantic aspects of Lessons Learned less gripping than its darker and deeper themes. This author possesses the ability to challenge her readers, and I, for one, am ready for her to make me uncomfortable.


  1. nice...sounds like a pretty cool book...and i am intrigued at her thoughts on how we interact with those of differing beliefs...of course being from a smaller town growing up at least...that is appealing as well..

  2. Brandee,

    It is fun for me to browse through your most recent posts here, and to catch up a bit of your life. I'm sorry you have been sick, and intrigued to watch this love story between you and Jim some more. Praying for a healthy baby too!

    Re your comment on my post "Tacos, Rescues, and Lovers," those Bible study groups can be so bonding, and are sorely missed too, huh?

    It's nice to talk with you again.

    Jennifer Dougan