Thursday, June 30, 2011

She Makes It Look Easy


Whoa, this is a book and a half. Based on something that happened in the author's own community,  She Makes It Look Easy chronicles the very different lives of two women. Ariel Baxter has three rambunctious boys, a messy house and dreams of becoming a professional photographer. She loves the Lord and her family but her life is definitely NOT put together. Her new neighbor Justine has everything under perfect control - her husband, her two daughters, her home, her yard, her spiritual life.  She even teaches classes on organizational techniques. Your basic Proverbs 31 woman. Scary.

Except....not all is as it seems. Justine is a cruel, self-centered, predatory woman bent on pursuing her own agenda. Outwardly perfect, inwardly she is a seething mass of resentment, lust and deceit. Self-righteous even in her perversity, she brings down all those who come within her scope of influence.  Ariel is mesmerized by the facade, enraptured by the perfection and completely deceived by her new friend.

The verse that came to my mind repeatedly was 2 Corinthians 10:12, "...But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement."

Working the front counter at House of James has given me hundreds of opportunities to meet people.  Over the past 15 years that I have been serving customers, I have realized how dangerous assumptions are. Just because someone's make-up is flawless, does not mean that they do not have a broken heart, or a splintered marriage, or troubled kids. I often remind our staff,"You just never know who might be walking through our front doors."  

The author herself, MaryBeth Whalen, says that as she dug into what made Justine tick she felt increasingly sorry for her. She makes some terrible, life-destroying choices but we cannot help feeling sympathy because we know that she will reap what she has sowed.  Hopefully, we can learn from her.

This would be a great read for a book club. Study questions are included and ironically, so are a few of the recipes that Justine recommends.  I may not like her life, but I think I'll try her Easy Homemade Yeast Rolls.

--Becky