The Sky Beneath My Feet
By Lisa Samson
Published by: Thomas Nelson
About the book . . .
Being married to a saint isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.
Beth’s husband won’t be joining the family on vacation at the beach this year. He’s not even joining them in the house. Instead, Rick has holed up alone in the backyard shed. Nobody knows exactly what he’s up to. Maybe he’s immersing himself in prayer. Maybe he’s lost his mind. Maybe he’s even the modern-day prophet or the saint the neighborhood artist imagines him to be. But while “St. Rick” waits for an epiphany, Beth will have to figure out what to do with herself and their teenage sons, possibly for the rest of her life.
What happens next is both uproarious and bittersweet: a peace march turns violent, her son is caught with drugs, and she embarks on an ambitious road trip that turns into something nearly surreal. Will Beth rediscover the idealistic woman she used to be, once upon a time? Can her marriage survive Rick’s backyard vigil? Will anything ever be the same? And should it be?
Truthful, comic, heartbreaking, and magical in the very best sense of the word, The Sky Beneath My Feet gently tears the veil off our egos and expectations to reveal the throbbing, redemptive, and achingly beautiful life beyond and within us.
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About the author . . .
Reader review . . .
Beth doesn’t know what went wrong. Her husband, the Men’s Pastor at the local mega-church, has locked himself in a shed in the backyard, saying he’ll come out when he hears from God. Meanwhile, her youngest son is on drugs, her Marxist brother needs help kidnapping a teenage runaway, and Beth has somehow joined forces with a sign-waving protest group. Something has to change, but Beth has no answers, and no longer remembers where to find them.
This book is for everyone who ever got so caught up in the work of the ministry that they forgot the purpose of ministry. At times this novel is laugh-out-loud funny, and then one of the characters has a pivotal moment and you have to stop to absorb what you just read.
Of course, Beth and her husband Rick are the main characters, and both experience real growth over the course of the storyline. Written in the first person, Beth is the narrator, so of course we see her character’s development throughout the book. Because Rick is in the shed for most of the time, we learn what has been going on with him at the end of the book.
Some (think ultra-conservative or über-evangelical) may be offended by this book. The author takes all of the trappings of the modern church and shows them to be just that: trappings, symbols that take the place of real meaning. The “Jesus fish” is a perfect example. First, because this ubiquitous symbol has become such a cliche that it no longer carries the meaning that it had before it was plastered on every third vehicle. Also, Beth only has it on her van because an ultra-conservative church member gave it to her, and she felt obligated to use it. She doesn’t do it out of some personal conviction, but because she feels that she can’t say no. Also, the use of the mega-church setting is interesting. Her description of the growth of the church, which causes her to become more and more isolated from the congregation, is dead-on in many churches today. The name of the church is ironic; a church named The Community is so large that it has no feeling of community.
This book is a welcome change from 90 percent of the Christian fiction genre. The characters and situations are drawn from real-life; church staff members who are burnt out and aren’t sure if they hear from God, drug-addicted teenagers, drug use among the church teens, and alcoholism are just some examples of the realism in the novel.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”