Review: She Makes It Look Easy by Marybeth Whalen

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Synopsis:

Ariel Baxter has just moved into the neighborhood of her dreams. The chaos of domestic life and the loneliness of motherhood, however, moved with her. Then she meets her neighbor, Justine Miller. Justine ushers Ariel into a world of clutter-free houses, fresh-baked bread, homemade crafts, neighborhood playdates, and organization techniques designed to make marriage better and parenting manageable.
Soon Ariel realizes there is hope for peace, friendship, and clean kitchen counters. But when rumors start to circulate about Justine’s real home life, Ariel must choose whether to believe the best about the friend she admires or consider the possibility that “perfection” isn’t always what it seems to be.
A novel for every woman who has looked at another woman’s life and said, “I want what she has,” She Makes It Look Easy reminds us of the danger of pedestals and the beauty of authentic friendship.
My Review:
Everyone knows someone who seems like she has it all together, is always dressed so nicely, make-up on, hair done, Bible in hand or scriptures ready to share, a clean house, baked break or cookies in the oven, and a seemingly perfect life.  At least, I can think of a few people in my own life that seem that way to me.  Now, that is not to say that they are probably a Justine…with skeletons in their closet and secretly unhappy.  However, I have often wondered, “what’s it really like?”.
If you know someone like that and feel complete opposite, then you will certainly resonate with this book. If you don’t know someone like that, or perhaps you are a Justine-strong A type personality then you will certainly enjoy this book, too.  Overall, this is a story that takes us behind closed doors, where church members don’t have access, where the process to do everything perfectly isn’t always shared…only the end results-perfection!
I loved this book and could relate to Ariel as she tries to keep up with the Joneses, so to speak, in a spiritual and Godly way.  Her dream is to move into this posh neighborhood, Essex Falls, and she begins working as a freelance photographer to help save money for the move.  Her husband, ever so frugal, really doesn’t want to move because it will mean that he will need to take another higher paying job and be away from the family more.   However, Ariel soon gets her wish and moves into the neighborhood of her dreams where children play and parents have neighborhood parties.  Living behind the main neighbor in charge of these soiree’s, Ariel soon begins to feel inadequate as she tries to maintain a clean home, bake bread and cookies, and manage her children, all with a gorgeous smile and crisp clothes.  Justine invites her to a church meeting, where Justine discusses Godly orderliness and Ariel finds herself trying to emulate Justine at home and in the neighborhood.  However, nothing is ever as it truly seems.
While Justine is painting this perfect picture of a Godly household, inside, she is hurt and angry, feels empty in her marriage, and soon seeks solace in the arms of an old flame.  Marybeth gets so deep into the minds and thoughts of the characters, that the scenarios and actions of each character seem so real and authentic.  Both Justine and Ariel have decisions they have to make and decide where their loyalties lie, and determine the fate of their friendship and of their marriages.  This is an excellent story and gives great discussion opportunities for a church reading group and book club.  I loved this book and would highly recommend it to anyone that enjoys Christian fiction.
5 plus more

2 thoughts on “Review: She Makes It Look Easy by Marybeth Whalen

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