Friday, April 17, 2015

Book Review: The Seat Beside Me

This was another bit of Christian women's fiction which I picked up from my mother while on Spring Break. It was quite brave of me to read a book about a plane crash just before boarding another flight home, don't you think? It looked more interesting than the Reader's Digest condensed book set which I had brought with me to read, so I gave the RD book to my mother and borrowed Nancy Moser's The Seat Beside Me.

I can only remember one flight where I happened to strike up a conversation with the man in the seat beside me. I was flying to London for a Spring Break trip (prior to having kids) and the man was quite interested in steering me to the best vegetarian restaurants (even though I planned to stay with friends and wouldn't be sampling many restaurants, let alone vegetarian ones). He was very nice and ended up requesting my address so that he could send me a copy of The Cranks Recipe Book from the Cranks restaurants. He did indeed send it and I still have it, but have never really utilized it. Perhaps I'll give it another look, now that I've dug it out to verify the title. He was certainly passionate about his cause.

This book is about being passionate about the cause of Christ. The book highlights five passengers and the seatmates beside them as they embark on a doomed trip to Phoenix. Some of the individuals have cordial conversations with their seatmates, some have curt conversations (at times a bit unbelievable). There is one individual, a haughty doctor, who looks upon his neighbor as "white trash," feeling he is so much above her. One passenger is flying to Arizona with the intent to commit suicide. Another is a Christian school teacher who is disappointed to find herself seated next to a teen. Each is given the opportunity to rise to the occasion and be a hero in the life of someone else. Some do, some don't.

I think the primary message was a good one - you never know when your last opportunity to share your faith might come and every one has it within them to seize such moments and be a hero in the life of someone else. The characters were interesting and the plot line smooth. I became fully engrossed in the story, despite being aboard a plane during the read (of course our weather was completely amenable, as opposed to the weather indicated in the book). It also reminded me that everyone has a story to share and often those stories intersect, if even briefly, for a reason.

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