Most of us identify the word home with a place - a building or a community. We may spout the words, "Home is where the heart is" or profess that we would follow a loved one anywhere, making where he/she is our home. Ginny Yttrup's new book HOME shows us that "home" is also that place/state of mind where we are comfortable with ourselves, true to ourselves and to God.
Next door neighbors, good friends, and work partners, Melanie Vander and Jill Rodriquez both seem to have captured the American dream. Both have loving spouses, Melanie has a growing career as an author, and Jill can continue her career as an editor from home, while raising twin boys and her daughter. But despite the daily cups of coffee and personal thoughts shared, neither Melanie nor Jill realizes the emotional baggage the other hides.
Melanie and her husband are facing financial ruin as a result of the continuing recession, causing her husband to work longer hours, and also fueling the writer's block Melanie currently experiences as a huge deadline looms closer. When she escapes the pressures of home and travels to the lakeside retreat of a new friend, Craig feels his wife's absence is more than just physical. But could the time there and the new novel which seems to be leading Melanie, instead of the other way around, bring a whole new understanding of home to Melanie and eventually Craig? Meanwhile, Jill finds that the obsessive thoughts and actions that have darkened her life ever since the birth of her daughter must be faced. The growing anxiety is crippling her and threatens all she loves.
While at times, it seemed odd having two such diverse stories happening at once, I quickly settled into this pattern, accepting it as another layer of realism. Certainly, suburban neighborhoods are filled with friends facing unique life-shaping events at the same time. Being there for someone else while your own life is breaking into a shambles is NOT fiction. It happens every day, and God calls us to be there for others. It may be what he provides as a path for our own healing. My heart ached for Jill as she found her way and also when Melanie and Craig finally admit what began her emotional exit from their marriage. Jill seeks professional help in the novel, and there is also another counselor who is a minor, but significant, character. The inclusion of these give Yttrup an avenue for
presenting important, well-grounded information about the stages of grief, OCD, and PTSD.
While I find that many Christian contemporary novels lack the depth for book club discussions, the themes of pain, loss, anxiety, coping mechanisms, being present in your own life, and more will give
readers plenty to think about and discuss. Read this book and you will be left pondering Yttrup's message that "Home is the memory we've yet to live."
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.