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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Take Three by Karen Kingsbury

Andi Ellison has made a mess of her life by giving into physical temptation with a shady boy named Taz. Now she has received the devastating news that she is pregnant and she does not know which direction to take. Who should she tell if anyone? Should she keep the baby or kill it? If she knows anything, she knows she does not want to tarnish her father's image in the film making industry. Keith Ellison has been enjoying his success in Hollywood as a Christian director and is looking forward to his next movie. But the strange behavior of his daughter and his co-director Chase Ryan are keeping him distracted. Bailey Flanigan also remains confused about her two suitors, Tim Reed and Cody Coleman. She wants to do the right thing, but what she thinks is the right thing is not what her heart tells her. Only God holds the answers for all their dilemmas-if they will seek Him with all their hearts.

When I finished this book, the first thing I said was "Karen Kingsbury can do better than this." I know she can; she has proven she can. Through uncharacteristic cheesy circumstances and characters, Karen is bringing the never-ending Baxter Family Saga down to the mud with such writing. It is clear she is trying to shake off certain characters, but she could have done so a better way.

After all their imperfect circumstances were resolved, the Baxters became perfect characters. Keith Ellison, Chase Ryan, the Flanigans, Cody Coleman, and Tim Reed are not exemplary characters either. Andi Ellison is the best character of this book because she is the only one that makes any realistic mistakes. She is the only believable character. The Baxters are fountains of wisdom, the Flanigans are a perfect family, Keith and Chase are simple characters, Cody Coleman is a perfect victim who is fast becoming a perfect male lead, something Karen Kingsbury has never done before, and Tim Reed has become a cheesy villain, for lack of a better word. Either Karen is slipping as an author or this series has met entropy. I agree with the latter, for all good things must come to an end.

The Bailey\Tim\Cody triangle was finally resolved in this book after much ring-around-the-rosy, but it could have been handled in a better way. Tim and Cody become polar opposites instead of the ambiguous characters they once were. It was predictable which one Karen was pulling for, so the best thing she could have done was do the opposite. The least she could have done was avoid the black and white answer she gave. The Andi Ellison situation is another problem. While she created the situation by her imperfect choices, Karen did every possible thing she could do to help her avoid the consequences. The end is not realistic, something Karen has not done since her early days.

I know Karen Kingsbury is not failing as an author; the Baxter Family Saga is failing as a series as result of longevity and entropy. The realistic, everyday life plots are gone, replaced by typical plot molds. I hope Karen can end the series on a good note with Take Four and avoid adding anymore sub-series' to the saga. But don't count on it.

2 stars

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