From Publishers Weekly
Samson is one of the best novelists in the inspirational market (Women's Intuition; Songbird), and she excels in her ability to portray authentic characters in this most recent foray into fiction. Pearly Laurel, 55, and her husband, Joey, have been soul mates for their 35 years of marriage. She's never shared his rock-solid faith and finds that life is unbearable when he unexpectedly dies. Determined to commit suicide by a rather improbable method, Pearly discovers Joey's last "wish list," which details seven things he wanted to do (including getting a tattoo and climbing a pyramid). She adds her own four items to his list and sets out to accomplish them all. Soon, she's involved with other people, including a young teen who needs her help. "Why in the world would God use me when I don't really know if I want all that much to do with Him?" asks Pearly. Lighter moments are provided by Pearly's neighbor Maida, who is addicted to a sexy daytime soap and provides updates on the exploits of the characters. Using first-person narrative, Samson knows how to show without telling, and although her word choices are occasionally a little over the top ("his bamboo arms"; a character named Shrubby Cinquefoil), most descriptions are delightfully fresh. The satisfaction of the novel comes not in the fulfillment of the wish list, but in Pearly's unforced journey toward faith and healing. This is a fine example of the strides being made in evangelical Christian fiction, which other CBA novelists would do well to emulate.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
“With a style and voice that’s uniquely her own, Lisa Samson has created an unforgettable heroine in Pearly. I couldn’t put the book down until I reached the end, then I was sorry it was over. This book is
the living end. Don’t miss it!”
–Robin Lee Hatcher, best-selling author of Firstborn
and Beyond the Shadows
“Lisa’s wit, humor, and insight never fail to amaze me. This book is no exception. Pearly is one of those quirky, lovable characters that touches your heart and changes the way you look at ‘everyday’ things like life and death and love.”
–Melody Carlson, author of Finding Alice
and Looking for Cassandra Jane
“If you think fiction isn’t true, meet Pearly. In The Living End,
Lisa Samson gifts us with raucous but oh-so-real responses to the questions that plague us all if we’re awake. Where is meaning? What is love? Who gets hurt most when we challenge authority? What is a life well-lived? Lisa’s characters stick to your ribs with names like Peta and Cheeta and Pearly Everlasting, who is everlasting and who, like Scarlett O’Hara, will live forever in my mind. Running beside Pearly as she races to finish her to-do list will leave you breathless, then inspire you with everlasting hope. Samson spins this story out with intensity and joy, compelling us to discover if Pearly will end her life before she truly finds it.”
–Jane Kirkpatrick, award-winning author of A Name of Her Own
“This story is a pilgrimage from grief to faith. Samson respects those deep processes of the soul, and her characters step into life, one day at a time.”
–Vinita Hampton Wright, author of The Winter Seeking