Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Book Review: Shannon's Hope by Josi Kilpack
Author: Josi Kilpack
Enjoyment Rating: ***
This book would be rated: PG-13 for subject matter
A couple of years ago, several LDS authors got together and decided to write a series of books, each based on a character in a fictional book club in Newport, California. Last year, several of the books where Whitney contenders, and this year we got another batch. In Shannon's Hope, we get a more in-depth look into the life of Shannon, a pharmacist who is a wife, a mother to a son, and a stepmother to a daughter. Her stepdaughter, Keisha, is addicted to drugs, and the family's struggle to help Keisha becomes the central conflict for the story.
Keisha has been in and out of rehab, has been homeless, and has probably been working on and off as a prostitute when the story opens and Shannon and her husband invite Keisha to live with them. Things seem to go well for a while, but then Keisha's behaviors and lies create a wedge between Shannon and her husband, as well as some of the other people in her life. Shannon seems kind of reluctantly engaged with the book club, but eventually some of the members, particularly her Aunt Ruby, help her see that she can't force someone else to change.
I applaud Kilpack for taking on a challenging topic and for showing how difficult it can be when someone you love struggles with addiction. Ultimately, for me, the book felt more like an after-school special or a Lifetime movie than it would have if it had been more about characters and interactions and less about a subject matter.