The authors of Emily Ever After (2005) return with more Christian chick lit.
At 27, Lily Traywick is still living in her parents’ house, languishing in the children’s department of their San Francisco department store and beginning to think that she’s never going to go on a real date. Which is when she decides to let her chic best friend give her a makeover—not just new clothes and a haircut, but an apartment in the city and flirting lessons, too. Thus transformed, Lily attracts the attentions of Sam: surfer, law student and Christian. Lily makes frequent mention of her own commitment to Christianity, but this seems less like an expression of real faith than a crass attempt on the part of the authors to attract a niche audience. The spiritual challenges she faces tend to be on the order of whether or not to wear a bikini to a pool party. The problem of modest dress in a half-naked world is a potentially compelling one, but Dayton and Vanderbilt fail to explore it with any level of thoughtfulness. Instead, they simply give Lily the bikini—and a sarong. It’s worth noting that, while Jesus is silent on the topic of swimwear, he has a lot to say about kindness and tolerance, neither of which Lily demonstrates. Dayton and Vanderbilt establish Lily’s supposed virtue by juxtaposing her with characters—her appearance-obsessed mother; Sam’s mean and sexually predatory friend, Delia; the cold and aggressively Christian Alexandra—who are venal to the point of caricature. Even this strategy fails, though, since Lily’s scornful mockery of these straw women reflects at least as poorly on her as it does on them. It’s not simply that Lily is not a good person, it’s that she doesn’t even try to be one, and neither she nor her creators notice or care until she hurts everyone she knows with a tell-all blog—and even then, she gets off easy: Her friends and family exhibit far more charity than she ever does.
Any reader who takes her faith seriously will be unimpressed by Lily’s smug, shallow brand of Christianity.