In Strickland’s novel, one person’s messiah is another’s juvenile delinquent.
Annie Mullard had it all—a great job as an airline pilot, a handsome and successful husband, three beautiful children and a big house in Chicago. When the recession hits, Annie loses her job and the comfortable life she has known begins to collapse; her husband is cheating on her, her kids don’t like her and the family’s financial situation is so tight that she has to wheel her clothing down to the Golden Coin Laundromat when the washing machine breaks. Annie is fed up, frustrated and seriously depressed. Although she prays for help, the sudden appearance of Violet at the Laundromat is not what she had in mind. Violet looks like a goth teenager and claims to be a messiah who can help Annie change her life though the power of positive thinking. Yet Annie is full of doubts, expressing understandable incredulity at Violet’s claims and scoffing at the idea that she can simply choose to be happy. Annie is a challenging case, and Violet spends nearly 23 chapters (set almost exclusively within the walls of the dingy Laundromat) trying to convince Annie that changing her thoughts and her attitude is the key to changing her life. As a teaching method, and further proof that she just may be a messiah, Violet beams Annie into past lives and even a possible future, forcing Annie to truly reflect on her attitude and her choices thus far. Slowly, Annie realizes that she just might possess the power to will her way to happiness. Strickland, in her second novel, effectively combines the earnestness of Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life with the didactic voice of The Secret. With its timely, relatable story peppered liberally with pop-culture references and religious conviction, Strickland’s novel should strike a chord with readers who will relate to Annie’s struggles and search for a happier future.
A lesson in faith and the power of positive thinking, all nestled within a satisfying story.