No. 15: White Chocolate Moments
Now for number two in this chick-lit experiment of mine. A friend of mine has read this book over and over, so if you like Christian (contemporary) romance, this is for you.
When Arcineh Bryant, granddaughter of an extremely wealthy Chicago businessman (and daughter of a just-plain-wealthy Chicago businessman), loses both of her parents in a car accident at age 11, she moves in with her grandfather, Sam. White Chocolate Moments is the story of her development from a heartbroken little girl, into a fiercely independent woman.
Sam, the owner of a massive marble company, is a workaholic. He loves Arcie, but can’t figure out how to run his business and raise his granddaughter. He does the best he can, which is actually pretty good. When he has to travel, he makes arrangements to take her along so they can spend time together, and tries to keep up with all the happenings of her life. He falls short in one significant area: his other granddaughter, Quinn.
Quinn is Sam’s favorite, and the entire family knows about it. Their relationship seems to be the center around which the family’s dysfunction revolves. Quinn’s mother, who had her own troubled childhood, seems to draw her value from Quinn’s place in Sam’s life. Quinn is much the same, and when Arcie moves in with Sam, she gets jealous. The family begins to splinter as the tension mounts, and after high school Arcie cuts ties with everyone.
She finds her way home, of course, through a series of improbable circumstances. That much was predictable. But the story was much more satisfying than I expected it to be. Contemporary and popular Christian fiction seems to have a reputation of being trite and simplistic, but Moments was neither. All the characters were well-developed and understandable, and they made reasonable decisions based on their personalities, backgrounds, and the situation at hand. I can’t remember any situations where I thought, “Why would she do that?”.
This is also the first time I’ve known a Christian to show concern for wealthy nonbelievers. The tendency is to focus on the poor and the oppressed, which is good (understatement of the day), but it’s like saying to people who have money, “Jesus doesn’t really care about you; you can take care of yourself.” We know it’s not true, but we focus so much on material things—which leads us to become indignant at the thought of helping a wealthy person in any way—that we forget what Ecclesiastes says about a rich man’s wealth being his burden and a constant source of anxiety. Ms. Wick just might be making a point: rich people need Jesus, too.
The writing flowed well, the pace was good, and I was able to empathize with the characters, despite the drastic differences in class, wealth, and location. Except for the author’s method of clarifying ambiguous pronouns (which I found mildly annoying), White Chocolate Moments was an enjoyable experience. Christian men: if you want a way to show your wife or girlfriend how sensitive you are, this is a good one.