Finding Jeena: A Novel
Kregel Publications (2010)
Reviewed by Tiffany Schlarman for Reader Views (08/10)
Jeena Gregory has it all, a cute boyfriend, a great job, a new car and townhome, but most of all she is finally happy! Unfortunately this will not last long for Jeena. Starting with her boyfriend, Jeena slowly loses everything she thought was important to her and the one person she knew was important to her. Jeena is quickly without a car, job, home or family and finds herself at the same women’s shelter that she has donated clothing to in the past. Haunted by the memories of her past, Jeena is forced to face her personal demons and live outside of her comfort zone. Though it is tough at first, through the loving and godly example of those who run the shelter and the friendships she makes with her co-habitants, Jeena is able to put her past behind her and discover God’s love for herself. It is her choice to accept or reject this love. Jeena is forced to take a look at herself and others for who they are and not what they have.
“Finding Jeena” is a story about a woman who is forced to find herself through tragedy. Jeena loses everything she holds in importance and is confronted with herself when it’s all she has left. Unable to shift the blame to others, Jeena is forced to look deep inside and discover who she is once and for all. The story is the classic “sinner brought to Christ through hardship and turmoil.” Jeena has been hurt severely in the past by those who claim Christianity, but are only talk. They are the two-faced Christians; they look good to the public, yet in private they are severely different. Jeena is stubborn and doesn’t want to believe Christ can offer anything peaceful, loving or helpful to her. In the midst of having everything she is stripped to nothing and forced to see the true and loving God as he is, and not how she has pegged him to be. The novel left little room for the imagination. The reader is able to see where the story is going with a fairly accurate idea of how it will arrive there.
I enjoyed this novel as a one-time read. It was hard to get into at first. Each new topic was unsurprising as you quickly discover she loses everything. The main character is very predictable in the storyline and the ending was not unusual. The author does a wonderful job with the story given the number of characters present. The novel was fun to read and teaches Christians the importance of portraying Christ love, but it didn’t hold anything shocking or new. It was enjoyable but doesn’t have any re-read value for me. I would suggest “Finding Jeena” for women who enjoy Christian fiction; however I don’t think it will be part of my permanent library.