Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My Name is Russell Fink

I have a gripe. Publisher Weekly's review of today's book, My Name is Russell Fink by Michael Snyder. The review is very complimentary of the book, not so much of its readers "Snyder's writing is inventive and fun, but there are too many crazy characters and rampant story lines, and it may be a bit too edgy and complex for the Christian chick lit crowd." How insulting is that? When is the general public going to shed the idea of Christians as idiots? Why is someone perceived as less intelligent if they believe in a higher power. This pervasive attitude is everywhere in the media, but I was surprised to see it leak over into a book review! As part of the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, I read a LOT of books. There are over 150 members of this group, and I've yet to encounter an unintelligent one! Honestly, I've read some secular chick-lit, and I find it to be less moving and complex than the average Christian chick-lit novel. With a Christian novel, not only are the characters dealing with the normal events of everyday life, they have the added task of growing spiritually as well. Not every writer can sell this as authentic, but when it's real, it's amazing. I don't think that the reviewer who wrote this review has read much Christian lit. Read Lisa Samson and Angela Hunt; their books are real and complicated and beautiful. Try Tamara Leigh and Susan May Warren who write chick-lit with heart, and even though their characters are often a mile away from me in personality, there is always something that connects their heart with mine. The Christian fiction movement is rapidly growing with all sorts of niche markets: thriller, crime, horror, fantasy, chick-lit, literary, romance, legal, etc. If you haven't read any Christian fiction yet, drop me an email (, I'd be glad to give you some suggestions, maybe even send you a book to change your mind about the genre. Hopefully you'll have a more open mind than Publisher's Weekly.

My Name is Russell Fink by Michael Snyder is an unusual entry into the Christian chick-lit genre. Russell is a hypochondriac salesman for a business supply company who hates his job, is apathetic toward his egotistic girlfriend, in love with his best girl friend, and the son of a fallen pastor known for his healing ability. Russell's life is moving along going nowhere when suddenly his brother, Peter, disappears after being threatened by loansharks for his gambling debt, his dog dies (was murdered?), dumps his girlfriend (she doesn't accept), and gets kicked out of his house. Russell makes for an amusing, if not always likeable, character. He spends most of his life reacting to what other people have done without ever taking action of his own. But this strange series of events leads him to start taking charge. He also starts talking to God for the first time since his twin sister, Katie, died when they were ten. The plot is twisted and complex, but Russell rises above it all with his wit and drive to find something good in his life. The book is almost farcical in spots while simultaneously dealing with serious issues. I loved it and can't wait to read Snyder's next book.

The whole family is going to hear the evangelist at the Baptist church tonight (at least that's the plan, we'll see if I feel any better). I can feel the Holy Spirit moving throughout my home in the last few days. If you can tell a tree by its fruit, this church is truly the house of the Lord.


michael snyder said...

Christy...hey, sorry it took forever to get over here and tell you a big, hearty Thank You for your kind words about my book (and I loved your 'gripe' above it as well...very well put). Yours was the last review I read before getting some bad news and it took me a while to find it again. Glad I did. And thanks again. It really means a lot to me.