Published by Multnomah Books on May 7, 2019
Genres: Fiction, Christian, General
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From the author of the best-selling Christy Miller and SisterChicks series comes a new book of community, friendship, and tackling the hard things of life with God and loved ones around a table.
Five young moms, including beloved Gunn character Christy Miller, gather to share meals and soon become unlikely best friends. The regular gatherings provide opportunities for the women to reveal their stories, and those life stories endear them to each other. They experience their lives naturally meshing as they raise their children together in community. In Becoming Us the group find ways to challenge, encourage, and help each other become the nurturing mothers they wished they'd had when they were growing up. They unite to be remembered for what they do as moms and not for what was done to them.
Becoming Us is a story of friendship, which is good because Emily Winslow needs friends. Moving to California was supposed to be a new start. Instead, all it had done is removed their support structure while putting her husband in a new job that’s struggling. They felt called by God to move. Why isn’t he blessing them?
Enter a new group of friends, which, if you’ve followed Robin Jones Gunn for long, will be familiar characters all grown up. That’s more of an Easter egg for the book than anything else, but that kind of unique interconnectedness will be sure to make fans feel at home.
As Emily becomes part of this new group of friends, she begins to feel more and more at home—even as circumstances indicate that their stay might not be for long. Becoming Us is a feel-good tale about moving away from established support systems (that may not exactly be healthy) and finding new ones.
Normally, this wouldn’t be my kind of book. It’s a sappy, sweet Hallmark movie of a book. (Indeed, Gunn has three Christmas novels that have been adapted into successful Hallmark movies.) But the theme of picking up and beginning again really struck me as that’s also a place my family is at in our lives.
Gunn’s characterization is spot-on, her depictions of everyday conversation compelling. If you have a group of friends like this, you’ll be mentally assigning them to each fictional character and if you don’t you’ll be hoping for an empty seat alongside. Community is a powerful thing and Gunn makes that point well.
The one issue I had with the book was simply that it didn’t really do anything. You just sort of flow through the book and there’s no tension or drama, just happy feel-good. But again, that’s an intentional Hallmarkesque style that Gunn is gunning for. Overall, it’s a fine and serviceable novel if that’s your style.