Just 18 Summers by Michelle Cox and Rene Gutteridge
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (March 21, 2014) 384 pages
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 Rating: 4/5 stars
Several months back, I read Greetings from the Flipside, which was also co-authored by Rene Gutteridge. It was so weird and humorous that when I saw Gutteridge's name on this book, I didn't hesitate in picking it up. I can't say this book was weird, but it was humorous and I laughed my way through it.
Just 18 Summers is told through several different people's eyes. It got a little confusing at first, but I eventually got them all straight in my mind.
Butch is unexpectedly a single dad after his wife, Jenny, dies in a car wreck. He's completely clueless how to raise an 8 year old little girl! Tippy and Daphne are expecting their first child, and Daphne is reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, even quizzing her husband to make sure he knows all the "rules". Larry and Beth(Jenny's sister) are "losing" two, of three, of their children(to marriage and college), and are worried that they just didn't do enough. Charles and Helen are doing their best to look perfect on the outside, and trying to insure the same of their children.
Most of the situations are pretty exaggerated. For example, I find it hard to imagine that two men would really and truly be so clueless about how to make cupcakes as Butch and Tippy were. In case you're worried about the men being made to look like buffoons(I've saw great concern surrounding Mom's Night Out about this subject and that possibility.), the women are exaggerated, too! Really, this book is like a stand up comedy show about being parents, except in book form. I'm a firm believer that when it comes to being parents, you just have to laugh to keep from crying sometimes!
Of course, within the humor, there's lots of lessons for all of us parents to learn, too.
Overall, I had fun within this story. If you're looking for a quick, humorous novel about parenting, this should be your next read!
*Thanks to Tyndale and Netgalley for providing me with a review copy, in exchange for my honest opinion.