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Focused Kindle Edition
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
During her time in the hill country, Christina does a lot of thinking and decides to change her life, including her relationship with her husband. Jeff also does some thinking while she is gone, and it appears that their marriage will be happy once more. Except that in a moment of muddy thinking, Christina invites Bud, the old boyfriend, to stay at their house while he looks for a job. Bud doesn't call first. The rest of the novel explores how Jeff and Christina deal with their own marriage with the solid presence of an old flame in their home.
There are several things I liked about the book. Ms. Cosgrove has the ability to make you feel what the characters are feeling. In fact, I had to put the book down several times simply because I was getting depressed! Don't worry; the ending is happy, but it took some time to get there. That is another thing I liked about the book; it was very realistic. Christina and Jeff fight (or non-fight) several times and make up again throughout the course of the book. Although this honesty can make for some frustrating reading (can't they just get over it?!), it is much more like a real marriage than some books I've read. Too many times plot lines of Christian romance books are too neat. Real people do rehash the same arguments more than once!
The best part of the book, though, is how the title, Focused, means so many different things throughout the book. Christina has always lived as though the whole world focused on her. She called it the fishbowl mentality. She comes to the understanding in the book that she can't live her life worried about what other people might think. She also realizes that her focus has been on the wrong things in life. She was focused on herself too often, and it hurt her marriage. She comes to determine that her attention does not to be on herself or even on her husband. She needs to focus on God, and the rest of her relationships will fall into place. There is also some over 40 humor in the title. Christina has had a pair of bifocals for several years that she can't see out of well. Buying a new pair of glasses serves to symbolize her ability to see everything in life better, not just her computer screen.
Christina definitely made some choices that made me cringe. I don't believe it was a good idea for her to invite an old boyfriend to stay in her home. The Bible commands hospitality, but I think Jesus would draw the line at an old flame who still holds some attraction. Christina also tends toward passive aggressive behavior. When she is angry at her husband, she's liable to lock herself in the bathroom, turn on the shower, and ignore him. Even her sister tells her she's being foolish there! I decided to blame it on hormones. I've done similar things, except that I react more aggressively. I got angry beyond all reason yesterday when I found my husband had used all the quarters in the drink machine, and I didn't have one for the shopping cart at Aldi. I guess I can be just as silly as Christina!
Overall, this book shows a realistic view of the journey of a couple back to intimacy of every kind. They have a lot of roadblocks in their journey, but this novel shows that hard work and commitment from both husband and wife can overcome many obstacles, even handsome former sweethearts, mood swings, and demanding jobs.
~As reviewed on [...]
Christina was close approaching her 50th birthday, and her only son had recently moved out. After years of nurturing and focusing on her son, she was suddenly left in limbo. The reality of how her marriage had shifted after years of putting all her energies into raising her son and caring for her home and family, hit home in a hard way. Who was this man she was left with? She didn't know him, nor did he seem to know her. She could remember the handsome young guy she fell head over hills in love with, but the one that lived with her wasn't him anymore Too make matters worse she had lost both her parents a few years back. She felt so alone. The curtain has dropped and she glaringly sees what her life has become, and in some ways only what she perceives it to be.
After what she terms a "non-fight" with her husband Jeff that morning, she allows her menopausal emotions to run way, calls in sick to work and on impulse takes off to her parents old summer cottage miles away. Stranded there by unexpected flooding and taking refuge in the home of two seniors she knew as a child, she is reunited with her old boyfriend, their son, who is visiting. (Don't worry, no adulterous affair happens.)
Sitting in the old cottage, surrounded memories she is able to do some real soul searching and crying. There she feels the Lord speaking to her about her life. She decides then and there she is going to make big changes in herself, her attitude, and her marriage. Of course decisions like these never come without being tested. I liked the fact the story dealt with real life feelings and obstacles. This helped me relate even more to the characters.
The title is so appropriate. As with most women their early years are focused on raising a family and all the responsibilities that go with it. The change was so gradual she didn't realize she had become focused on how she expected things to be; focused on how she felt her husband should be, focused on what her needs were in the marriage, focused on what others thought of her, focused on taking care of others and neglecting herself, and in all this focusing, she forgot to focus on God. Mixed in were all the misunderstandings that go along with a couple that has quit communicating. This is real life! There are surprises and lots of wonderful humor along the way.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Ms. Cosgrove did a brilliant job of genuinely portraying this time of life we must all face. I look forward to reading more of her books!
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