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LEAVE IT TO CLAIRE by Tracey Bateman


by Tracey Bateman

Pub Date: Jan. 4th, 2006
ISBN: 0-446-69608-0
Publisher: FaithWords

This first in a planned series from Warner’s Christian imprint features Claire Everett as she improves her life (with the help of God).

Bateman’s heroine is a bitter pill of a woman, though one suspects it was not the author’s intention to make her appear so. Claire has worked hard in the years since her divorce. She’s raising four children and writing Christian romance novels to great success. When her busy schedule comes to a halt as she recuperates from surgery for carpal tunnel, Claire uses this down time to work on herself—lose some weight, reconnect with her kids, go to church more often, find some flesh-and-bone friends, as opposed to those who live online. She achieves these goals by novel’s end, but her real accomplishment is forgiving her once unfaithful ex-husband Dr. Rick. Now married to the young, beautiful Darcy, Rick is the unmentionable in Claire’s life, and her barely repressed anger is affecting her children. Young Shawn has been writing lewd poems honoring the school secretary (though Claire blames the secretary’s prominent cleavage) and now the family is in counseling. Meanwhile, Shawn’s teacher Greg Lewis may just be the good man Claire has been praying for. Bateman uses all the touchstones of contemporary evangelical Christian pop-culture, serving to make Claire a caricature instead of a character. In fact, if one were to create a parody of a Thomas Kincaid–loving, Wal-Mart shopping, The Purpose-Driven Life–reading woman, Claire would be it. Sadly intolerant for a work of Christian literature (her Jewish counselor is “okay” because he’s converted, she applauds her son’s eventual acceptance of conformity because he looked like a “freak” with a fake lip ring), the novel’s worst sin is still its aching predictability.

Plodding Christian fare limited to its target audience.