Just 18 Summers by Rene Gutteridge & Michelle Cox

Book description:

After the tragic death of Butch Browning’s wife, Jenny, four families begin to realize how precious—and fleeting—their time together is. Each is at a different stage in life: Butch is facing single parenthood. The O’Reillys are expecting their first child. The Andersons are approaching an empty nest, and the Buckleys are so focused on providing their children with everything that they’ve forgotten what they truly need. With just eighteen summers before their children are grown, how do they make the most of that time when life so often gets in the way?

As summer flies by, each of these parents must learn about guilt and grace . . . and when to hold on to their kids and when to let go.

My review:

Wow, what a book! This is the best book I’ve read in a long time. I laughed, I cried, and I was sad when it was finished. It was the best book I’ve ever read at capturing life. The struggle all parents face is balancing the demands of life with the desire to spend time with our children, all while fighting the ticking of the clock of time, moving us forward to that day when our children are adults. This book captures the struggle perfectly.

I don’t typically enjoy books where the story is told through the eyes of different characters, especially when the relationships between those characters are tenuous. For example, friend of a friend type thing. The great thing about this book is that the different perspectives flow seamlessly together.

Gutteridge and Cox completely captured parenthood – the good, the bad, and the ugly. I couldn’t stop laughing at the characterization of Daphne, the soon-to-be-first-time-mom. I totally related to all the baby-proofing steps and the manic parenting book reading. I probably would have done the pool noodles as well, had I thought of it. It was so funny to read the interaction between Ava and Daphne. However, the most important thing was the message. We can prepare and fret and worry and obsess over the safety of our children, but God is the one holding them and carrying them through this life. We ultimately have to rest in that.

This book is a must read. It is just so very, very good. It isn’t often that I come across a book that won’t leave my bookshelf to travel to a friend’s house, but this is one of them that stays with me!

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