Kicking Eternity by Ann Lee Miller takes on a subject that is like talking conservative politics at a Green Peace convention: home schooling. And she tackles the subject in an endearing story of love and friendship.
Raine grew up home schooled by a father who believes a woman never has any authority. Once she marries, her husband then has authority over her choices. We meet Raine at the start of camp. She’s a Bible teacher with a murky past. Cal, a typical, surf-board-hit-over-the-head dude who loves to surf, drink, and live unfettered begins to flirt with Raine. Drew is just getting over a past love that dumped him after high school. Cal is an unbeliever hired to teach art by his brother, Jesse who hopes the Christian camp would have an effect on Cal. It’s Raine’s crush on Cal that sends this home schooled girl into spiritual turmoil.
Raine has a passion for Africa. Against her father’s wishes, she intends to fly to Africa and teach Bible. There’s more than passion behind her yearning for Africa. Family drama, sexual attraction, and the fear of falling in love with the right man before she can flee the States for her dream makes camp more than just a pause before the rest of her life. The story’s wonderful unpredictability and characters drew me deeper. I thought of the story even when I had to step away from it and still now, but not all of it was good.
I gave Kicking Eternity four stars. I would read it again, but I didn’t care for the father’s attitude or how the story seemed to back up that attitude with Drew affirming her father’s archaic beliefs even towards the end. That’s very damaging for someone who comes from an abuse situation. Raine is twenty-one and is an adult. Her motivation for going to Africa should be brought into question as you get deeper into the story, but the father’s attitude is never addressed properly. Raine’s mom appears not to hold any authority either when Raine argues about her dream of going to Africa. Yes, her father is concerned for her safety, but that attitude where she has no choice unless a male figure makes it hits a raw nerve. Since not enough story has been given to Raine’s father to dissect if this attitude is abuse, I am not ready to penalize the entire novel for something I disagree with.
Ann bravely shows the good and bad of home schooling in this interesting story. The love story cannot be predicted at first. Both Cal and Drew are falling in love with Raine, but it’s unclear how deep that love goes until you’ve gone most of the way through the novel. It’s a wonderful read and very diverse. Some of the elements in the story are unusual in a Christian novel, but not offensive; it’s real life, real temptations, and real forgiveness.
*Book given by author to review.