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Saturday, July 17, 2010

God Is In the Pancakes

(note: I received this book as part of 1 Arc Tours.)


(description from ARC)

No one is more surprised than fifteen-year-old Grace Manning herself that she likes her job in the local nursing home. But that has everything to do with her relationship with one of the residents, Mr. Sands, an ex-Marine with Lou Gehrig's disease. He keeps up with Grace's witty banter, teaches her to play poker, allows her to give him a mohawk, acts as a father figure . . . and one day, cheerfully asks her to help him die. Grace tries to avoid the wrenching decision, first by praying for a miracle, and then by stuffing herself with pancakes. Soon she's running away from all feelings, including the new ones she has for her best friend, Eric, who suddenly seems to have a lot of female admirers. But Mr. Sands continues to get worse, and Grace knows this decision is too important to ignore . . .


First off: I mentioned it once, but I probably need to mention again that I received this book as part of the site 1 ARC Tours, where ARCs are sent around to different people and then back to the owner . . . well, just click on the link if you want to know more. Anyways, I received the book 7/10 and really need to mail it today but first I need to find a box or something because I don't think I can afford one of those bubble mailers . . . okay, rambling. On to the book.

God is in the Pancakes starts off with a jolt. The plot is set up in the first chapter, which was a bit refreshing after reading quite a few "oh, let's follow our boring characters through a whole day of, er, exploits"-type books. Like most of my reviews this one is split into 3 parts:


I cannot stress how important this is. When a would've-been-good-(or at least mediocre) book drags on and on, it can really make the book a lot less good (or mediocre). God is in the Pancakes moves at a quick pace and does not suffer for it.


For the most part, the more main characters (Grace, Mr. Sands and his wife, Grace's mother, etc.) were well-delineated, and though a couple of the more secondary characters seemed rather stock at times, it fit their roles in the book, if that makes any sense. Furthermore, the relationships in this book were amazing. Grace and Mr. Sands' friendship is well-drawn and believable, especially the passage where Mr. Sands explains to Grace why he wanted to keep her a secret from his wife. The way Epstein uses parallels to show Grace that she needs to have a better relationship with her mother, the further (romantic) dilemmas faced by Grace throughout the course of the book, all of it fits into the plot well. Grace herself is a brilliantly drawn protagonist: realistic, funny, sardonic, and unsure of herself. She's deeply flawed and has practically no clue how to operate in 'the real world' and never is it more apparent than in the scenes where she grapples with whether to 'help' Mr. Sands or not. Grace's eventual decision surprised me a little, as did the eventual conclusion, but it all felt real.


I bite down on the inside of my lip. "I don't really think handing out celebrity magazines qualifies as Christian."
"The Lord works in mysterious ways."
(p. 122, uncorrected proof. NOTE: Per Dial Books' requirements I must indicate that my review is based on an uncorrected text, etc.)
Yeah... sorry if you were expecting something deeper.

Verdict? God is in the Pancakes is thoughtful, funny, sad and ruminative, with a heroine forced to make a possibly life-altering decision. Ultimately, the book asks many questions of the reader, most importantly: How far would you go to help a friend?

Donut Days by Lara Zielin
I could say something like "both are about GOD" but really it's more like "this one's about donuts instead of pancakes." I mean, come on. WHO DOESN'T LIKE DONUTS?

Writing: 8/10
MC: 9/10
Other Characters: 8/10
Plot: 9/10
Ending: 10/10
Cover: 8/10

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

Cover? 4 out of 5 - The cover is okay. Nothing special, really, but the pancake is nice. And it makes me want pancakes. Mmm, pancakes...

Dial Books
May 15, 2010
272 pages

ARC received from 1 ARC Tours

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