Book Review: One Last Thing by Rebecca St. James & Nancy Rue
I'm not sure what I expected when I started reading One Last Thing, but it certainly wasn't what I got. While I have heard a few of Rebecca St. James' songs, I'm not a big fan of her music, and I haven't read either of her previous books. I have seen Nancy Rue's books before, and may have read some when I was younger. Actually, I didn't even know she wrote books for adults. Since I hadn't read their books before, I didn't really have any preconceived notions about this story. I'm not sure who's writing style comes to the forefront, but I have to say I didn't care for it. To say they enjoy the hyperbole is an understatement. And Tara's penchant for writing movie scenes in her head (portrayed in a script-like form) gets old really fast. They did paint a beautiful picture of life in the south for wealthy, white people. I also found that to be super annoying. The life they portrayed is one that very few people can relate to. This book is full of perfect southern gentlemen who's eyes twinkle and genteel ladies who's cheeks wrinkle in just the right places when they smile. Not one character was flawed--except those who were supposed to be. Daddy is the perfect businessman, Mama is the sweetest housewife and brother is the great protector. The southern charm just oozed off of every page. It was nearly enough to make me put this book down altogether.
So with sappy dialogue and unrealistic characters, why did I even read this book? Well, the story itself turned out to be pretty good. Tara has been in love with Seth for most of her life. He was literally the boy next door, and her brother's best friend. He finally noticed her, they fell in love and now they're engaged to be married. Just three weeks before their wedding Tara discovers that Seth is addicted to porn, and has been for many years. Her life goes into a tailspin. She calls off the wedding, and now she has to decide if she can ever trust Seth again.
I couldn't really understand Tara's actions at all. If something like that happened to me, nothing in the world could keep me from talking to my dad about it. Tara chose to keep it a secret to save Seth's reputation. Even when people blamed her and verbally attacked her, she kept quiet. That didn't make sense to me. When Tara needed friends to talk to, she found them in three random women in a coffee shop. How these women all came to be friends is totally baffling to me. It seems they just all showed up one day together, and started solving all of Tara's problems with witty banter and soup.
While I found many of Tara's actions totally unrealistic and strange, I could relate to the emotions she felt. That was the one great aspect of this story. Any woman who has dreamed of getting married and starting a brand-new life with the man of her dreams can relate to the things she felt. There was so much up and down and back and forth. I found myself alternately wishing she would work things out with Seth, and then hoping she'd just dump him. I was so curious about the outcome that I waded through the annoying parts to find out in the end.
My biggest issue with this book is the way that a porn addiction is portrayed. Pornography is a sin. The characters were so busy trying to figure out why such a great Christian as Seth would struggle with it, that it was hardly even mentioned that it's a terrible sin. There just had to be a reason, and the blame had to be on someone besides Seth. I'm not saying that it isn't something that men--even Christian men--struggle with, but the bottom line is that it's a sin, and more that just an uncontrollable addiction.
I've probably given you the idea that I didn't like this book much, but that isn't really true. The plot itself was good. I was really in suspense right up to the end to see if Tara would stay or go. And there are a couple of surprising plot twists that I didn't see coming at all. Once I looked past the not-so-great dialogue and the odd scene descriptions, I got very interested in this book. I couldn't put it down, and read it in less than a day. If you know what you're getting into, this book is a great read.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own.