Title: Sensible Shoes
Author: Sharon Garlough Brown
Series: Sensible Shoes, book 1
Major Themes: Faith, Forgiveness, Friendships, Healing, Women’s Fiction
Synopsis: Four women take a spiritual journey together to learn more about the Lord, their faith, and to work through portions of their past.
Several months ago, a friend recommended the Sensible Shoes series to me, but since she’d already loaned out her copy, I didn’t have the chance to read it until I went to stay with other friends for a while. What a good book! I felt like I wanted to just sit and study the way the author had written it, but the story sucked me in, and the lessons made me sit back and want to mull over them, and then the story took me on again. Though it’s written from four different perspectives, it’s easy to tell whose head you are in, and I really appreciated getting to know the different women in here.
Hannah, Meg, Mara, and Charissa are all women who love the Lord, but also struggle in their relationship with Him in one form or another. After meeting at a discipleship group, the four women walk their own journeys to health and healing, learning from and encouraging each other as they go.
I’m finding it really hard to put Sensible Shoes into words because it felt much deeper than words. Brown is an excellent author, and although a lot of this book is on the introspective side (in one of the four main character’s heads), it never once feels too slow or too introspective. She hit the perfect balance there, and I was in awe as the book sucked me in and kept me going at a time when I may have otherwise struggled to keep myself reading. I want to re-read the book, just to study how she did it! But there’s so much more here, too.
I found myself in every woman, in one way or another. And sometimes, I caught myself laughing out loud at the way they were doing things—because I could relate so well. The lessons they learn along the way aren’t easy ones for any of us. Each of them had past experiences to work through, even when they looked “perfect” growing up. I loved watching them learn to face their past, grieve it, and learn to hand it over to the Lord—over, and over, and over, when necessary. That was very encouraging to me, and the wisdom contained here was also spot-on.
Did I mention the writing style? That was amazing, too. In all, I loved Sensible Shoes—the depth, the length, the beautifully nuanced characters, the language—and even though one side theme in here annoyed me, I still recommend you read it. It’s not often you come across good fiction books, and even if you have to pick through some of it, some parts are well worth the rest of it!
WARNING: “I swear” and “crap” is used multiple times throughout the book. “Heck” is used once. “Bitch” is used in ch. 6. There is lying in ch. 6 and 11. “Hell” is used in ch. 7, pg. 192 and ch. 11, pg. 305. “Blasted” is used in ch. 11. Marital relations outside of marriage and abortion are alluded to or get a passing mention at different times. There is a mention of marital relations in ch. 6, pg. 154 and 164 and ch. 8, pg. 208 (both of which, though not very descriptive, were more detailed than I’m comfortable with). Periods are mentioned in ch. 8. A woman recalls someone dying in ch. 4, 7, and in ch. 10 and 11, there is a discussion about a man who committed suicide, with a little description of the scene when he was found. There’s also a memory of a near suicide in ch. 11. Family violence is alluded to at times. One of the women is a pastor.
For those opposed to divorce and remarriage, that seems to be condoned in this book. A man recounts his divorce, and later falls in love with an old school friend in here—there’s a kiss at the end of ch. 12.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults