Book Review: In This Moment

29 Jan

Hamilton High Principal Wendell Quinn is tired of the violence, drug abuse, teen pregnancies, and low expectations at his Indianapolis school. A single father of four, Quinn is a Christian and a family man. He wants to see change in his community, so he starts a voluntary after-school Bible Study and prayer program. He knows he is risking his job by leading the program, but the high turnout at every meeting encourages him.

A year later, violence and gang activity are down, test scores are up, and drug use and teen pregnancy have plummeted. The program is clearly working — until one parent calls the press. Now Quinn faces a lawsuit that could ruin everything.

With a storm of national attention and criticism, Quinn is at a crossroads — he must choose whether to cave in and shut down the program or stand up for himself and his students. The battle comes with a high cost, and Quinn wants just one attorney on his side for this fight: Luke Baxter. In This Moment is an inspiring, relevant story about the nuances of religious freedom and how a group of determined people just might restore the meaning of faith in today’s culture.

Karen Kingsbury, #1 New York Times bestselling novelist, is America’s favorite inspirational storyteller, with more than twenty-five million copies of her award-winning books in print. Her last dozen titles have topped bestseller lists and many of her novels are under development with Hallmark Films and as major motion pictures. Her Baxter Family books are being developed into a TV series slated for major network viewing sometime in the next year. Karen is also an adjunct professor of writing at Liberty University. In 2001 she and her husband, Don, adopted three boys from Haiti, doubling their family in a matter of months. Today the couple has joined the ranks of empty-nesters, living in Tennessee near five of their adult children.

My Impressions:

Relevant is the one overwhelming word to describe In This Moment, the latest Baxter Family book from Karen Kingsbury. With the increase in drug overdoses, gang violence, and broken families, many believers are calling for a return to the values that once set our nation apart. Main character Wendell Quinn, a high school principal with a heart for his students, takes extraordinary measures to bring his students back from the brink — a voluntary Bible study and prayer club. Kingsbury’s novel explores the results and consequences of one man brave enough to buck the system and cultural prejudices to help his students.

Fans of Kingsbury’s Baxter Family series of books will enjoy the interaction of the family with the main story thread of the school Bible study club. Luke Baxter is involved with the ensuing court case that embroils the principal. But for me the characters of Wendell, his family and friends, and the students that are reached with this revolutionary program were the best part of the story. Real, relatable, with real doubts and fears, these characters were ones I would love to know in real life. The themes of the novel, religious liberty and the presence of God, are thoughtfully woven throughout the book. This one is definitely Christian fiction — the characters pray, scripture is read and relied upon, and God’s voice speaks to many of the characters. While the book ends well, it is not before loss and heartache touch all of the characters.

One of the things I found unusual was the belief among many of the characters that reading the Bible and prayer in public places would get you in trouble or sent to jail. Now don’t get me wrong, I know that the attack on religious liberty, especially when it comes to Christians, is alive and well in America. But my small town deep in the Bible Belt has not experienced much of that  . . . yet. I think that is the most important take-away from In This Moment. The events depicted in the book may seem the norm or the exception to you, but be assured at some point in the future you will be confronted by those who would seek to shut down religious freedom. We need to be ready. Here is one great quote to remember — In addition to the lawsuits, people didn’t need to be forced into silence. They were silencing themselves out of fear and a lack of knowledge of their rights. (p. 75)

A great read to get you thinking, In This Moment would be an excellent choice for a book club discussion for adults or teens. It gets a recommended rating from me.

Recommended.

Audience: older teens to adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to Howard Books for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

%d bloggers like this: