It Happens Every Spring Hardcover – Large Print, Aug 1 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Relational expert Chapman rewrites his core message in fiction, teaming with prolific Christian novelist Palmer in this first in a projected tetralogy highlighting the concepts taught in Chapman's The Four Seasons of a Marriage. The plot and characters evince Chapman's thesis that marriage is a journey back and forth through different "seasons," while the neighborhood of Deep Water Cove and little town of Tranquility, Mo., provide the settings. Five local women start a club ("TLC") to help one another through problems in their relationships and their community. In a squeaky-clean nod to Desperate Housewives, a charming handyman is steaming things up with Brenda Hansen. Meanwhile, romance is brewing for Patsy Pringle, who runs Just As I Am, a "faith-based beauty experience." Palmer's descriptions can go over the top; the obligatory "autumn" character "was a windblown shock of wheat, a ripe apple hanging heavy on the tree, a mourning dove that gathered her little ones close about her and cooed in the wind." A homeless, mentally handicapped man gives Palmer some engaging opportunities to flesh out the other characters as they respond to his plight. However, the novel's scenes too often conspire to illustrate a counseling point, and the included study guide reinforces the idea that this is self-help disguised as fiction. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
GARY CHAPMAN is the author of the New York Times bestselling The Five Love Languages book series. He is the director of Marriage and Family Life Consultants, Inc., and travels around the world presenting seminars. Gary's radio program airs on more than 100 stations. For more information, visit (www.garychapman.org.) --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
I started this book a while ago and now I wondered why I did not finished it.
I'm glad I went back to reading it, could barely put it down.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The Lake of the Ozarks is full of character and so are the people who inhabit it. In this fictional town set at "The Lake" readers get to know several couples in various stages of marital love. In particular readers meet Brenda and Steve, who are having trouble adjusting to their empty nest. More accurately, Brenda is having trouble adjusting as Steve seems to have created a life without her just as she reached a point where she could look forward to the additional time they would have for one another.
Well written without being preachy, It Happens Every Spring does a good job of introducing characters in the different seasons of marriage and even gives them a good reason for knowing one another. I especially loved the setting. I've been to The Lake so the setting was vivid in my mind, but anyone who has been to a teeny lakeside community could relate to the intimacy of its inhabitants.
I look forward to the rest of the series.
Armchair Interviews says: This neat book explores the facets of marriage in a realistic setting.
What I found heavy handed were the long "marriage counseling" descriptions and conversations. Where feelings were stated and re-stated to hammer the "seasons of marriage" into your brain, and the arguments border on textbook training for counselors. But that aside, it's a nice read. I may get the other 3 books in the series.
On the other hand, there were several important life lessons to be learned here, some of which the characters never did seem to get a really firm grasp. Cody is treated well by the authors and the characters, as is Patsy Pringle. Brenda, however, gets lambasted no matter what she does. She wasn't the only one who contributed to the bad and good of her marriage, but her husband Steven is whitewashed to the point of thinking he's the poor, put-upon long-suffering man who just wants a good wife. He doesn't seem to realize he can't expect that without reciprocating, and spending time with his wife.
Depression comes in many guises, and Brenda was fortunate to have good friends and neighbors to help her out of hers; Steve's friends weren't given the opportunity to help him see the errors of his ways. I suspect men who read this book will agree with Steve, while women will tend to see Brenda's side of things more clearly.
I think this is an interesting concept--pairing a non-fiction author with one more well-known for fiction--and using the former's self-help books as a basis for this series. Having not read any of the others--yet--I can't speak to how well they succeed in future volumes. I suspect I'll try at least one more of the series, as the characters and the setting are very appealing. I can't help but hope the women develop a bit more backbone, however. Women are not subservient, and I think it's harmful when they're presented as such. Equal partnerships are much better, and way more fun, especially in a loving relationship.
Since the kids left, one of the TLC members Brenda Hansen suffers from empty nest syndrome as she feels she offers nothing to her community, her spouse or especially herself. Her husband Steve is a workaholic who comes home to eat and sleep, which adds to Brenda's feelings of abandonment, isolation and loneliness; whereas Steve avoids Brenda because he finds her increasingly nasty and combative when hw is near.
During a nasty storm, a stranger knocks on Brenda's door saying he is Cody and asking for chocolate cake as that is the Christian way. Brenda initially fears this young man, but soon brings him in from the rain giving him his cake. Others also help the mentally challenged lad without understanding in his way he is assisting them much more as couples like Brenda and Steve try to renew the euphoria of their relationship.
Using the spring of Dr. Chapman's THE FOUR SEASONS OF A MARRIAGE theory as the base for the first of a quartet of relationship dramas, IT HAPPENS EVERY SPRING is a delightful tale that introduces the audience to the TLC members and other folks, but focuses mostly on Brenda and Steve. Most fascinating is that the authors chose spring for the couple who is probably in early fall; however spring is the time of rebirth, which means that a pair must renew their relationship or it will atrophy and die prematurely. The opening Four Seasons saga is a warm story of the importance of relational rejuvenation.