THE WHITNEY CHRONICLES: Life, Faith and Getting It Right

Judy Baer, Author . Steeple Hill Caf $12.95 (329p) ISBN 978-0-373-78526-1

Think of a sanitized Bridget Jones Diary or a scripture-filled Shopaholic and you have this latest fun but problematic foray into evangelical Christian chick lit. Just like Bridget, Whitney Blake is an overweight, still-single gal who writes journal entries about her two major goals: to lose weight and gain a man. Unlike Bridget, Whitney wants her man to be a Christian and finds the key to her weight loss at church. Chick-lit readers will appreciate all the components of a girl-friendly fantasy read: drop-dead gorgeous men, details about sumptuous meals and a clumsy, chubby girl's sudden apparent attractiveness. Quirky characters enliven the story, and flashes of genuine humor keep even the poignant segments about Whitney's friend Kim's cancer and depression from becoming too heavy. With 65 books to her credit, Baer knows how to spin a good tale, but her handling of Christian content will feel laid on with a trowel even to the most conservative readers (consider a comparison between a Christian putting on the armor of God and Whitney putting on her "armor" for a date: "The shoes were the strappiest I own, to represent the humble sandals of the Carpenter"). There's also a plethora of well-worn jokes and clichés. But when Baer's not preaching or relying on one-liners to be funny, the results are genuinely enjoyable. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 09/20/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
Mass Market Paperbound - 424 pages - 978-0-373-78552-0
Open Ebook - 432 pages - 978-1-4268-5763-8
Hardcover - 488 pages - 978-0-7862-7460-4
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