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on 30 June 1999
After thoroughly enjoying Portofino,re-reading and loving it even more the 2nd time around, recommending it to my book club ,etc, I couldn't wait to read Saving Grandma. Altho it was funny at times, I found the humor very 'dark". All Calvin really cared about was sex-with his "little thing", with Jennifer' and helping his friend. Come on!!!I can't picture that one. Grandma was not one bit believeable-too one dimensional, Dad was in a REALLY bad mood, for sure, and Mom was losing it as well. Sorry, but I won"t be recommending this book!
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on 30 July 1999
I read Portofino & really enjoyed it & was anxious to read the sequel. I enjoyed it, too, & even laughed out loud at a number of places. Grandma is a great character & a good addition to the Becker fictional family. But nonetheless, there's a disturbing note of bitterness in this novel that wasn't there in Portofino. The whole Becker clan -- except for the two non-calvinists, Calvin & Grandma -- have gone totally bonkers & Dad is getting more violent by the day. We know that Frank S. has rejected Calvinism & his parents' ministry & has gone to Orthodoxy. I guess these novels are Franky's revenge.
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on 8 July 1998
After the delightful "Portofino", that brought back memories of my childhood summers too, Frank Schaeffer has delivered a worthy sequel.
The book is meticulously crafted--best testimony to that is the way Schaeffer captures the nuances of Grandma's slurred speech. Messages are delivered in good-natured humor; if this work is at all autobiographical, a great deal of coming-to-terms must have taken place before and during its writing.
Bravo MR. Schaeffer! Looking forward to the third part of a trilogy.
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on 22 July 1997
Saving Grandma is a fascinating book. I read it practically in one sitting. Besides the fact that the book is fast-paced and humorous a la Adrian Mole, it intrigued me because I happen to know that the author is himself the son of Calvinist missionaries who established an institute similar to L'Arche in the same region of Switzerland that the book is set in. I do not know all the details of Frank Schaeffer's life as a young man, but I do know that some of the incidents in the book bear a remarkable resemblance to real-life events.
After having participated directly in his parents' enterprise, Frank Schaeffer has rejected their Calvinism and converted to Greek Orthodoxy.
Can we expect to see a third novel (Portofino was the first, and I can't wait to read it!) in this series in which young Calvin grows up and adopts the Greek Orthodox faith or something very much like it? I certainly hope so, for I am very fond of Calvin Becker, and I congratulate Frank Schaeffer for the progress he has made in his spiritual life. Nothing deadens the human soul like the Calvinist doctrine of predestination.
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on 1 April 1999
I thought this was a very funny book and a good sequel to portifino
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on 8 June 1998
For anyone who is familiar with Frank Schaeffer's background, and that of his parents, Francis and Edith Schaeffer, this book and its predecessor, Portofino, can make for very uneasy reading. Although they can be humorous at points and literarily compelling, one cannot help but feel a bit dirty, imagining Frank's mother reading what her son really thinks of her and her late husband. A previous reviewer mentioned the deadining effect of Calvinism. I wonder what can be said of the effect of Eastern Orthodoxy upon a person who feels driven to publish something like this about his own family.
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on 23 December 1997
Calvinists will probably not be amused at this portrayal of religious missionaries embroiled in their daily struggles to defeat sin, heresy, church politics, and the sinister machinations of the Vatican. The boy narrator, Calvin, and his iconoclastic, foul mouthed grandmother provide delightful contrast to the religious drudges that make up the rest of the family. The characterizations are quite good, and the story is great fun to read.
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