Just Shy Of Harmony Paperback – Feb 26 2004
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In Just Shy of Harmony, Philip Gulley's follow-up novel to Home to Harmony, the award-winning author again offers matchless slices of small-town life as he catches us up on the doings of the quirky characters that inhabit this small community. Beloved minister Sam Gardner slides into depression as his little Quaker church, which once had goals of spreading the gospel and ending world hunger, now juggles such lofty issues as what type of vanity table to put in the ladies' restroom and the progress of its chicken noodle sales. Gulley gently pokes fun at evangelical Christianity's foibles through his characterizations, including church member Dale Hinshaw's "Scripture egg project" (chickens lay eggs with Scripture in the yolks to reach the unsaved). There are poignant moments: Wayne Fleming's wife Sally has deserted him and his three kids, and now Wayne is in love with lawyer Deena Morrison, owner of the Legal Grounds Coffee Shop. When Sally returns home, Wayne must make the most difficult decision of his life. Reading one of Gulley's stories is as comfortable as sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch, listening to an old friend spin tales. This installment in the Harmony series is sure to win Gulley some new fans and please his loyal following. --Cindy Crosby --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
When Sam Gardner reads an article about "the ten warning signs of depression" in a Christian magazine, he discovers that he has seven of them. The article closes by telling readers that if they have seven or more signs of depression, they should see their pastor. The trouble is, Sam is the pastor. He's tired of writing sermons and exhausted by his congregation's resistance to any change more meaningful than installing a new vanity in the women's bathroom. In this refreshingly candid novel, a sequel of sorts to Home to Harmony, the members of Harmony's quirky Friends Meeting engage in various struggles with depression and doubt. Like Jan Karon, Gulley has a gift for understanding the hilarity and pathos of small churches in small towns. With his characteristic wry humor, he develops a host of side characters, from Dale Hinshaw, the self-righteous and infuriating church elder, to the salt-of-the-earth lottery winner, Jessie Peacock. Gulley is unflinching at depicting some of the church members' narrow-mindedness, but he never succumbs to stereotype. While some readers may initially have a difficult time adjusting to the way Gulley often switches from the past to the present tense, this device helps the book play out like a comfortable, down-to-earth conversation. Many readers will relate to Sam's honest struggles with faith and will appreciate the book's subtle message: that Sam's faith is rekindled only when he steps away from congregational infighting and begins to help others. This story is a winner.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition. See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Gully relates the odd doings of a kindly but befuddled pastor named Sam Gardner and the distinctively quirky members of his more-typical-than-one-might-admit congregation in a small Midwestern town. Since the author serves a congregation in a place not unlike the fictional pastor Gardner, his main character could be the author's, or any, pastor's alter ego.
Who could resist such hilarious activities as the implausible ideas that emerge from the free-for-all annual "Goal-Setting Sunday" and lengthy discussions over what color the new laminate in the ladies room vanity should be? The book relates silly proposals that actually get voted "in" such as a new outreach initiative, the "Scripture Egg" project, in which small verses of Holy Writ are fed to chickens, so that when their eggs are broken, the verse emerged. No, I am not making this up!
You will be amused by everything from near slapstick church meetings to the newspaper columnist who unwittingly sparks and flames the rumors of the town's gossip mill from his observation window overlooking the town's main street. Any you may even be reminded of similar situations you have experienced yourself. Because a second glance at even the most amusing of these improbable people will confirm your first suspicion: This is completely true to life. The author knows his subject through and through.
This book made me laugh out loud many times, as I read about everything whimsical in Harmony, Indiana.Read more ›
Don't miss Gulley's other warm, wonderful and charming books: Home to Harmony, Front Porch Tales and For Everything There A Season ... divided into easy to digest chapters for all ages.
I enjoyed this book even more than the original. Instead of the vignettes of small-town life that the original had, the sequel follows a more traditional storyline and I found that the characters came even more to life for me in this fashion!
Most recent customer reviews
Unlike the Mitford books, Gulley asks the question, what is faith without testing? The characters portrayed here ring true and earnest, similar to those in Katherine Valentine's... Read morePublished on May 26 2004
After having read all of Jan Karon's books I had a taste for the same read - and mistakenly stumbled on this incredibly horrible series. Never Again - quote this raven. Read morePublished on Nov. 14 2003 by Sandy Rhoad
This is the first book I've found that hits close to the best in the Mitford series. It's different than the Mitford series, tho. It's more concise and succinct. Read morePublished on May 11 2003 by Ann Sherry
These two books are fantastic! Very "Mitford" like and I know Philip Gulley has a bright writing future ahead of him! Buy them today! Read morePublished on Aug. 12 2002
My whole family (teenager included) just finished reading this delightful book. We all found ourselves laughing over the scripture egg project, and the folks of Harmony. Read morePublished on May 13 2002 by Julie S.
I have anxiously awaited the release of this second book in the Harmony series. It was like a visit with old friends to return to the small town of Harmony through Philip Gulley's... Read morePublished on March 1 2002