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Flabbergasted: A Novel [Paperback]

Ray Blackston
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 1 2004
Stockbroker Jay Jarvis just moved east. His dating life's gone south. What else is a guy to do but go fishing? "This is one book you don't want to miss!"--Crossings Book Club "Blackston's light and breezy style makes Flabbergasted an ideal reading choice for a lazy summer night."--Bookpage "Blackston's first novel is refreshingly honest . . . Good writing and an ample dose of humor make this as charming as Bridget Jones' Diary from the male point of view. Highly recommended."--Library Journal "A fun, lighthearted and thoroughly enjoyable 'relational gumbo' of a novel . . . quirky and very satisfying, this novel is an excellent debut."--CCM Magazine "[A] superb first novel."--Christian Retailing "Blackston takes an amusing look at the Christian singles scene, The story proceeds at a leisurely, episodic pace, focusing on dialogue and characterization to provide the plot."--Romantic Times "This book made me laugh out loud."--Liz Curtis Higgs

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Stockbroker Jay Jarvis just moved East. His dating life's gone South. What else is a guy to do but go fishing? "Refreshingly honest . . . as charming as Bridget Jones' Diary from the male point of view. Highly recommended."--Library Journal "A fun, lighthearted, and thoroughly enjoyable 'relational gumbo' of a novel."--CCM magazine "This is one book you don't want to miss!"--Crossings Book Club "Blackston's light and breezy style makes ideal reading for a lazy summer night."--Bookpage "An amusing look at the Christian singles scene."--Romantic Times "Amazing. A novel with no illicit sex, bad words, racial slurs, or crime that is simultaneously serious, hilarious, and impossible to put down."--The Dallas Morning News Armed with the knowledge that his second grade teacher always liked his stories and poems, Ray Blackston walked away from the corporate cubicle, bought a laptop, said a prayer, and began typing the first words of Flabbergasted. He does not recommend this method for the faint of heart.

About the Author

Ray Blackston of Greenville, South Carolina, worked as a buyer and a broker for eleven years before cashing in his modest 401k and leaving his corporate cubicle to write full time. He serves on the missions committee of Grace Church, has traveled to rural Ecuador on a summer missions program, and coaches his six-year-old nephew Action Jackson in T-ball.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Beware - very preachy March 15 2004
By A Customer
This harmless piece of fluff is "Christian fiction" disguised as a comedy. It fooled me and I bought it. As a non-church goer, this book had way too much preaching and spiritual discussion. If that's your thing, give it a shot, otherwise steer clear.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A wild, imaginative, lime green ride! March 13 2004
"Flabbergasted" is one of the most quirky, interesting stories I have ever read. I cannot recall having laughed so much or so hard while reading a book since the last time I read one of Erma Bombeck's books.
Jay Jarvis is a single, eligible, stock-broker bachelor who has just recently moved to Greenville, South Carolina. Not interested in church other than to meet eligible bachelorettes, Jay meets the girl of his dreams, Allie, on his first visit to North Hills Presbyterian Church.
Unfortunately for Jay, Allie is not easy to get to know. Jay will embark on a strange journey domniated by the color lime green, a row of numericals, a less-than-punctual preacher, a pirouette of the gospel, and a multi-hour ride into the Ecudorian jungle. As Jay learns more about Allie and who she is, he will learn about who He is.
"Flabbergasted" is a Christian, coming-to-the-Lord novel. However, this is not your normal salvation tale. Ray Blackston, in his first book, has created a wild and imaginative story that will have you laughing, keep you guessing, and make it difficult for you to put down.
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How do you get from a sun-soaked South Carolina beach weekend to a missionary outpost in the wilds of Ecuador? The answer surprises Jay Jarvis again and again in this quirky male's-eye-view of the Christian singles scene.
Once a male friend said to me "I didn't know what I was here for until I had a child." One might debate his statement, but it does illuminate part of the challenge of being a modern man. In an era and society in which the role of men has changed drastically, young men like my friend are searching for meaning. Ray Blackston's protagonist, Jay Jarvis, is also searching for meaning in his life --- or, at least, a girlfriend. But when a move from Dallas to Greenville, South Carolina finds him trolling the local churches for female companionship, Jay gets much, much more than he bargained for.
Jay, like his creator is a stockbroker, who has just been unceremoniously dumped by his girlfriend, and on the advice of his realtor decides to try a church service instead of a dating service. Before he know what's hit him, Jay is meeting with the young men's group at the church and taking a Memorial Day beach trip with them (19 men, 34 women, a gross or two of Oreos). He's also met a churchmember named Ally who spends most of her time in the mission fields of Ecuador --- but enough time at home so that her verbal sparring and fast-food-throwing skills haven't been dulled. Before you can jump a pew, Jay is smitten. He and Ally become so engrossed in getting to know each other that they float off course in inner tubes and are forced to spend a night alone on a beach.
However, this is a Christian novel, and while that night on the beach causes some sheepish consternation for the pair, it doesn't involve anything else.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining but... Dec 28 2003
By A Customer
The story follows John Jarvis's journey from cynic to believer through a quirky love story and off-beat set of characters that do not always ring true. While this book was enjoyable, there are several things that I wish he had explored more. For instance, Jarvis accepts Christ only after a near death experience. For the sake of the story I think he should have reached that point through some less dramatic means with more internal than external impetus. For instance, Jarvis and Allie innocently fall asleep together on the beach. Allie is worried about how it will look to the others so they take off together on a trip through the South Carolina Lowlands ending up at a little country church pastored by a man he met earlier on the beach fishing. This is a nice touch but suddenly the issue of them spending the night together on the beach is dropped.

This is a commendable first effort from Tom Blackston and I hope that he will continue to write. I think he shows great promise in this field which leans very much toward the female outlook. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot out there in the Christian fiction market for the men and this is a good start. I look forward to Blackston's next book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Prepare to be flabbergasted! Sept. 13 2003
By A Customer
With colorful cast of quirky characters and a plot that is full of surprises, "Flabbergasted" is truly the feel-good novel of the year. It tells the tale of Jay Jarvis, a young stockbroker who moves from his hometown of Dallas to the unfamiliar Greenville, South Carolina, and decides one day to go to a local church to meet chicks and starts attending the church's singles ministry meetings. It is there that he meets a fascinating young missionary named Allie, as well as a number of other interesting characters, who completely turn Jay's life upside-down. Together they share many adventures which leave them, as well as the reader, truly flabbergasted! I just finished reading this book, and I'm really glad I took the time to read it, considering I rarely ever have time to read for pleasure. This book not only made me laugh, but made me think about life and faith and left me with a really good, satisfying feeling when I was finished. Although it did get a little boring at some times, you just couldn't help but keep reading, wondering what would happen next. This was Ray Blackston's first novel, and I'm so glad he took the leap of faith to leave the security his old job and start writing (a method which he does not recommend to the "faint of heart"); from the looks of "Flabbergasted", I think this could be the start of a great career for him. I'm already looking forward to more books by him in the future; word has it that he's already working on a sequel, and you can be sure I'll be among the first in line to read it!
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars great Read
I really enjoyed the read , learning you can always change things around and be very content...as I always say Less IS ! Better....keep your faith...you can go a long ways... Read more
Published 1 month ago by gramma meme
4.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed this book
I enjoyed this book, particularly the main character who made an enormous life change because of his interest in the young lady in the book. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Geraldine Reynolds
5.0 out of 5 stars So Fun and Refreshing!
This was such a fun book to read! The first thing that caught my attention was the vibrant cover! Just looking at the cover makes you want to read this book! Read more
Published on May 26 2010 by Shirley Rempel
4.0 out of 5 stars Great fun :)
Flabbergasted is a curious mix, a story that is at once light and humorous but also manages to speak on a deeper level. Read more
Published on May 26 2010 by Valerie Comer
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun
Never read a guy's version of 'chick lit' before, but totally enjoyed it. Look forward to reading more of Blackston's work.
Published on Aug. 20 2007 by K. Wray
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Cast of Characters
Being from the area the novel is set in, I found the story especially amusing. The cast of characters could not be more fun to follow as our narrator takes on one misadventure... Read more
Published on July 2 2004 by S. Hendrix
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved It!
Read this book as a fun summer roadtrip story, or open the treasure chest of clever prose, lush imagery, and valuable life lessons. Either way, you can't lose.
Published on March 22 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars cute
I liked the fresh angle of this book. Imagine this... a book from a man's perspective with almost no reference to sex or violence. Read more
Published on Jan. 23 2004 by Joanna Webb
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome.
This is one of the most positive books you can read. Anyone needing a literary pick-me-up will find satisfaction in Flabbergasted. Read more
Published on Dec 13 2003
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