Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Book Review: 'Good Enough' by Pamela Gossiaux
Michigan author and freelance writer Pamela Gossiaux is an inspirational Christian speaker and the author of two books: ‘Why is There a Lemon in My Fruit Salad? How to Stay Sweet When Life Turns Sour’, and ‘A Kid at Heart: Becoming a Child of our Heavenly Father’. These first two books proved her abilities as a humorist and a sensitive thinker, but her newest book GOOD ENOUGH places her in a new realm of important contemporary authors.
So many of the oft-maligned Chick Lit novels rely on frequent emphasis on sexual encounters to attract their audience. Pam sees a different direction of importance in her female centric novel – keeping the love interests alive but on the periphery of her core themes. She balances contemporary situations familiar to all of us with little glitches that can change our lives in both a positive way and a not so helpful direction, resolves the issues that she presents, and the result is a book of warmth, humor, and just plain fine storytelling that signals the arrival of a new voice.
Amy Summers seems to have the good life – an ad writer for InterFind (a very ‘now’ internet advertising outfit), an intact relationship with lawyer Bart, a nice apartment in Ann Arbor, Michigan – until a string of events alters her direction: she loses her job because she is ‘boring’, her traveling boyfriend Bart returns from Haiti to inform her he is leaving her for another woman, and jobless without a significant income she turns to writing novels without success. She discovers an old lottery ticket she believes to be Bart’s – worth 22 million dollars and decides to hold onto it until the seas settle. She meets the handsome and caring Josh Gray, a Life Coach who had been a Contractor until his co-worker friend dies by accident, and together they consider the fact that in life, friends have problems and need help. ‘Honesty and integrity are important in this world and so undervalued.’
Or to quote Pam’s style at this juncture, Josh tells Amy “I help people make life transitions, like changing jobs. Or I help them figure out what they want out of life, what they want to do, how they can make a difference, by helping them find their strengths.” “That stops me,” Amy says. “Right here, standing in front of me, is the answer to my prayer. He can help me figure out what I want to do. With my life. With my money. And he’s not too hard on the eyes, either.”
And change it does! Amy discovers Bart’s girlfriend Suzanne is pregnant, befriends old friends, and decides to start a magazine (“I want to start up a magazine. I’m going to call it “Good Enough” and it’s going to be a magazine to empower people. They’ll be self-help articles, but more than that. I’m going to remind people that they are already good enough! We’ll have articles on weight, fashion, meals, parenting, exercise – just like the other women’s magazines out there but the focus will be on knowing when you’ve done enough, or are enough, or have enough. Maybe we’ll even have regular sized models instead of those really tall, skinny girls and we’ll include healthy restaurants for quick take-out meals because sometimes you really don’t have time to cook.’ And with Josh’s guidance she does just that, and discovers aspects of telling the truth and being genuine that threaten then alter her life in a good way.
Though too long for a review it is important for incipient readers to hear Pam’s writing in her magazine because it brings it all ‘round. ‘Valentine Issue: The Greatest of These is Love - Good Enough magazine was created to give women a sense of self and to remind them that they are unique beings, created for a purpose, and are gifted in many different ways to make their place in the world. Whether we are writers, mothers, corporate mangers, cooks, or any number of other possibilities, what matters most is that we bring integrity, honesty and respect to those around us. But there’s more we can give. And it’s ours, free, given to us for the giving. It’s called forgiveness. There are so many times I’ve made mistakes and hurt those I care about. Maybe I snapped at a writer for missing a deadline. Perhaps I honked at a driver who cut me off, or I pushed past someone in the elevator. Maybe I lied about why I stayed home from work. Small misdemeanors, but still. Then there are the larger ones. Then times when we deeply hurt someone we care about. What is driving us when we do these things? For most of us, it’s not rudeness. It’s fear. Fear we’re going to be late. Fear we will be pushed aside if we don’t stand up for ourselves. Fear we will be rejected if our true colors show. Fear that we aren’t good enough. Love forgives. That’s a quote from the world’s best-selling book, The Bible. Love forgives. What I offer you is a challenge this February, to look around you at those who work beside you, whether it’s in the home or the office or the factory. Look at those who interact with you – the grocery clerk, the salesman, your child’s teacher, your spouse - and try to love them fully and without condition. If they don’t treat you with the respect you think you deserve, look deeper. Perhaps there is more going on. Perhaps there’s a reason for their actions. Forgive them. And here’s hoping, to those out there who I have hurt, that they have a big enough heart inside themselves to forgive me. I once thought I wasn’t good enough, but someone showed me I was. And I believe that now. No matter what.’
Richly meaningful while wildly entertaining, GOOD ENOUGH is a major new book by an exceptionally talented new author. Plug in! Grady Harp, December 16
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.