Currently Reading: The Wednesday Letters
Malcolm shined his flashlight over the metal roof and smiled at the graffiti. Some was new; some was familiar. He saw his own handwriting still scrawled on one of the support poles in red Sharpie: I LOVE RJ.
Author: Jason F. Wright
Synopsis: Jack Cooper wrote a letter to his wife, Laurel, every Wednesday throughout their marriage. After Jack and Laurel die in each others' arms, their three children gather for the funeral and discover the letters. More than just messages of love, the letters contain a very painful family secret--and all three of the children, especially Malcolm, find their lives permanently altered through the news and through the final notes directed at each of them.
Notes: I grew up on Christian genre fiction--the Winslow books, Janette Oke's work, various positive-themed teen books like Dawn's Diamond Defense and Pounding Hooves, etc. This book fits right into that tradition: safe to read, solid message, lots of hope and forgiveness.
Less positive is my own attitude: while I regret giving away my copy of DDD because I remember really liking it, and I still have Pounding Hooves, my patience for most inspirational fiction--evangelical or otherwise--has gone a bit thin. I got hold of Pride and Prejudice in my late teens and never looked back; then I met Harry Potter and discovered what really makes a story inspiring.
As for The Wednesday Letters: The premise made me think of the movie Fireproof, but the story wound up being more about the Coopers' son Malcolm. I really, really liked Malcolm and the girl he loves--at the beginning of the book. By the end, both of them were harder for me to believe; Malcolm because I didn't quite buy some of his temper tantrums, Rain because I never got a sense for why she even bothered with Nathan when she clearly had so much affection for her ex-boyfriend.
Reading this book also made me determined to go and remove as much of the crying as I can from my own. It is very hard to write a good crying scene. The protagonist, I think, shouldn't generally shed a tear unless the reader also has a pretty solid lump in their throat (exceptions may be made, perhaps, for angry crying.)
It wasn't a bad book, though; I got a good evening's read out of it. If inspiration is your thing, then by all means, enjoy. I'm sure you'll find it worthwhile.
P.S. If you're from the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, you might enjoy the book just for the local references.