Thursday, January 24, 2008

Splitting Harriet

I am officially old. Yesterday Molly and I were listening to the top 40 station on the way into school. Flo Rida's Low came on the radio with it's unmistakable "She wore the apple bottom jeans, boots with the fur" first line. Here's the conversation that proved me forever uncool.

Me: What are apple bottom jeans?

Molly: Mom, what shape is an apple?

Me: Round...why does it matter what shape the bottom of the jeans are?

Molly: eyes roll

Me: I'm serious, why are the bottoms of the jeans round?

Molly: sigh

Me: Are fat ankles considered hot now?

Molly: Mom! No!

Me: Are you supposed to wear lots of pairs of socks?

Molly: laughing Mom, not that bottom.

Me: ....oh.

Apparently Apple Bottom Jeans are a label by Nelly. And I am now officially my mother.

Splitting Harriet by Tamara Leigh tells the tale of Harriet Bisset former rebel without a cause now Christian without a clue. Harriet, a PK (preacher's kid), lives in a trailer park for senior citizens, still attends her childhood church, and works at the diner she hopes to buy when the owner retires. After a major rebellion as a teen that included tattoos, promiscuity, and drinking, Harriet is trying to make up for her sins to the church she abandoned by taking care of the elderly within it. But Maddox McCray, the new church consultant, roars into town on a Harley Davidson and gets her bad girl blood boiling with both his edgy style and the changes he wants to make to her church. This is the first of Leigh's books that I've read, and I already have another one on my to-read pile. She manages to create lovable, realistic characters and delve into the inner life of Christians with equal aplomb. Harriet turned her life over to God, but lives in constant fear of slipping again, so she surrounds herself with safety. When I was a new Christian, I fell into the same trap: Christian music, Christian books, Christian TV. It's easy to live only within a small world within the larger world, and it feels safe. But God did not call us to retreat from the world, but to be his messengers within the world. Harriet is afraid of change and afraid of her feelings for Maddox because she doesn't trust herself to make right decisions. Leigh gives a powerful lesson about God's forgiveness being unearned and about not locking ourselves away from the rest of the world. I really fell in love with Harriet, and you will too.

Today is the last day to sign up for my book contest. If you're interested in winning C.D. Baker's book 101 Cups of Water, drop me an email at before midnight. I'll announce the winner tomorrow and post my review of this charming book.