Thursday, November 26, 2009

Movie Review- "The Blind Side"

A great sports movie focuses on the sport and players. In that regard, “The Blind Side” is a good sports movie. There is a fair amount of football playing and football lore. In all honesty, I couldn’t call it a great sports movie.

For a movie to qualify as a blockbuster, it usually has big, big names and lots of special effects. Okay, Sandra Bullock and Kathy Bates are big names. Tim McGraw has done some acting but his fame is in other fields and most of the other players in the drama aren’t big names – yet. And there aren’t any razzle-dazzle special effects.

What “The Blind Side” does accomplish is to tell a wonderful story of people touching each other’s lives, and it happens to include football. Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw are Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy, well-to-do people with two children. They have it all – the big house, the cars, their kids in private school, successful businesses.

An impulsive act by Leigh Anne takes a homeless black student into their upper class home and world. Their story of connecting as human beings beyond boundaries of background, color and means is an extraordinary adventure. This is the tale of making a difference when you didn’t have anything to gain by taking action. Her “just for one night” helping hand changes all of their lives.

“The Blind Side” is the story of real-life football player Michael Oher of the Baltimore Ravens and is based on “The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game” by Michael Lewis. I haven’t read the book yet so I can’t address how accurately or inaccurately the movie follows the book. I can tell you that this is a movie about moving from lip service Christianity to Christianity in action.

While it hasn’t been touted as an overtly faith-based movie to my knowledge, faith is a big part of the characters and their motivations. I am particularly drawn to the scenes where Bullock’s character is interacting with her social peers. Her evolution from society maven to outspoken champion is a delight to watch.

I am a fan of most of Sandra Bullock’s work. She is a gifted lady who makes a role come to life in a way that I appreciate as a viewer. This film only cements my opinion of her.

McGraw is likable as the slightly bemused husband to steamroller-Bullock. I look forward to seeing him in other roles. Bates is quirky and delightful as the tutor hired to help Michael (played with great finesse by Quinton Aaron) get his grades up enough to qualify to play football. Don’t overlook Jae Head and Lilly Collins as the Tuohy children. They are great.

John Lee Hancock is the director and screenwriter. The film is rated PG-13; there are some drug references and one violent scene. None is gratuitous. I’m sorry to say that I don’t think this movie will win many Oscars. It isn’t bloody enough or spectacular enough to attract Oscar attention. That is the Academy’s loss.

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. The relationships, the personal growth and the courage of the people are inspirational. If you haven’t seen it yet, I strongly encourage you to see it soon. If you want to come out of a movie feeling good, this is the one.

You can learn more about this film at the website:

© 2009 Mary Beth Magee

Update: Well, the entertainment world has surprised me. "The Blind Side" and the cast have received a number of awards and accolades, including Academy Award nominations!  I am so happy to be proven wrong! Best wishes as you go into the Oscar presentations...I'll be rooting for you!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Book Review - "Breach of Trust" by DiAnn Mills

When DiAnn Mills takes on the CIA as a subject, her promise to “Expect an Adventure” takes on a completely new dimension.

In “Breach of Trust,” Mills recounts the story of Mikaela Olsson, survivor of a failed CIA mission. She has left the CIA, her old identity and the world she knew. Now a small town librarian known as Paige Rogers, she is trying to build a new life and protect those she left behind.

When the man responsible for the betrayal of that last mission inserts himself back into her life, Paige faces danger and decisions. Can she stay out of his clutches long enough to reveal the truth about the mission and free all concerned from the past?

Mills is a skilled storyteller. Her attention to detail and descriptive artistry make her stories rich and elegant. In “Breach of Trust,” she pulls us into a world of fear and deceit and allows us to follow Paige as she struggles for redemption.

This is a gritty story, and Mills does not shy from the ugly things humans can do to each other. Her story is not vulgar or bawdy, but is ruggedly honest. Paige acknowledges her mistakes and faces the consequences with dignity and concern for others.

Some may find it unlikely that a novel by an acknowledged Christian writer could subjects like out-of-wedlock birth and political intrigue. Once you’ve read “Breach of Trust,” you will understand how beautifully it can be done.

Mills indicates that "Breach of Trust" is the first novel in a new series - "Call of Duty." Keep your eyes open for the next episode.

“Breach of Trust”
by DiAnn Mills
Published by Tyndale House
ISBN: 978-1-4143-2047-2

Book review - "Dogwood" by Chris Fabry

From the author of “77 Habits of Ineffective Christians,” “Spiritually Correct Bedtime Stories” and co-author (with Jerry Jenkins) of juvenile adventure fiction comes an intensely adult novel set in the hills of West Virginia. Christian radio host Chris Fabry steps up to a new level with his writing in “Dogwood.”

Fabry is a son of West Virginia and his roots show clearly, as he describes a small town beset by tragedy. Dogwood lost two of its youngsters in an automobile accident years ago. The event has shaped the town and its people.

The man who served prison time for the accident has returned to town, seeking his lost love. Although Karin has married someone else and has a family, Will Hatfield has never stopped loving her.

With smooth narration and clean shifts in perspective, Fabry introduces a wounded town and its anguished inhabitants. Young Danny Boyd, who lost his sisters in the accident, helps to lead the characters through the maze of memories and emotions. Elderly Ruthie Bowles helps to ask the questions necessary to solve the puzzles of the past.

For those familiar with Fabry’s lighthearted books on Christian living, “Dogwood” will be a bit of a shock at first. Don’t be afraid to dive in. Although the tone is different, the skills Fabry brought to his previous works shine through in “Dogwood.” He has a gift for description and an insight into the human psyche that serves him well as a storyteller.

“Dogwood” is touching and uplifting. For those interested in a study subject, Fabry has included reader group and study questions. Check out “Dogwood” if you want a good read with an underlying spiritual message.

By Chris Fabry
Published by Tyndale Fiction
ISBN-13: 978-1-4143-1955-1

Book Review - "Blood Bayou" by Karen Young

Calling all lovers of tense mystery – “Blood Bayou” is a wonderful way to get your adventure fix while immersing yourself in the atmosphere of Louisiana’s bayou country. Author Karen Young has crafted a story of old wounds and new beginnings, with enough close calls to satisfy the biggest literary thrill seeker.

Camille Vermillion has sought redemption for her troubled past by working as the head of the Truth Project, a legal team investigating the cases of wrongfully convicted death row prisoners. Her ex-husband Jack has traded his briefcase for a pulpit, pastoring a small church in the town of Blood Bayou. Both are scarred by their mutual past and tiptoeing around their still simmering desire for each other.

When murder claims Jack’s sister , the evidence seems to point to a man recently released from prison by Camille’s work. Can Camille clear the man a second time? Can she and Jack escape the pain of the past to build a future? Will the two of them survive the investigation of Jack’s sister’s death?

Young, a bestselling secular author, makes her first attempt into Christian fiction with “Blood Bayou.” She succeeds admirably with a tight story of human frailty and the renewal of forgiveness. Although Jack Vermillion is a pastor, there is no preaching in the way of the action.

Buckle in for a high-speed ride through the Louisiana countryside when you open “Blood Bayou.” You will find enough suspects to fill a cellblock and enough drama to set your heart racing. “Blood Bayou” is a powerful story, well told.

“Blood Bayou”
By Karen Young
Published by Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster
ISBN-13: 978-1-4165-8750-7

© 2009 Mary Beth Magee

"Tuesday Night at the Blue Moon" by Debbie Fuller Thomas

Mother love is a powerful force, even when misdirected. For Marty Winslow, the death of her beloved middle daughter is a severe blow. The cause of death, a genetic disease, is the catalyst for a second blow – the child was not hers.

Two baby girls, switched at birth, are the seeds from which “Tuesday Night at the Blue Moon” sprouts. The relationship between Marty and Andie, the child she actually bore, is the bud on the vine.

Debbie Fuller Thomas switches between the perspectives of mother and daughter with deceptive ease, true to each persona yet neatly meshing the story. Against the backdrop of the Blue Moon Drive In, we see the heartache and angst of strangers trying to get to know each other. The relationship between mother and thirteen-year-old daughter is a difficult one at best. Without the foundation of familiarity and love, it takes on new dimensions.

Tuesday night is Family Night at the Blue Moon. Marty’s father owns the aging drive in. The theater is as much a character in the story as the family members who operate it. Andie learns about her new family as she joins them on the ticket line and behind the snack counter.

“Tuesday Night at the Blue Moon” is not a high-powered adventure novel. Instead, it is a thoughtful exploration of emotions and what makes a family, an identity. As Thomas’ debut novel, it sets a high standard for her next offering.

Tuesday Night at the Blue Moon
By Debbie Fuller Thomas
Published by Moody Publishers
ISBN – 13: 978-0-8024-8733-9

© 2009 Mary Beth Magee

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"Presumed Guilty" by James Scott Bell

Prominent pastor arrested for murder of porn star!

It sounds like a headline in a cheesy tabloid. Author James Scott Bell uses it as the basic premise of “Presumed Guilty.”

In this tense mystery, mega-church pastor Ron Hamilton is accused of the murder and the media is conducting a trial by public opinion. When it seems everyone has lost confidence in the clergyman’s innocence, only his wife is willing to stand with him.
She is a fighter, willing to pursue answers, no matter where they lead. But can she hope to win this battle? When even she begins to succumb to the pain of the accusations and circumstances, Ron seems to be lost.

The relationships in this story are deeply built and deeply tested. The people are imperfect. The issue of trust is explored from many sides and the facets held up for inspection like a diamond in a jeweler’s loupe.

How can a book by an award-winning Christian writer rival a detective story by any successful secular writer? With a well thought out story told beautifully by a master of the legal thriller. Investigative details, legal points and human nature are nicely balanced in this easy-to-read yet gripping adventure.

Bell has a gift for the English language which is well-demonstrated in “Presumed Guilty.” He shows us the pastor’s situation, the wife’s pain, the dark secrets threatening to tear their comfortable world apart. If you thought “seedy” met “suburbia” only in “Desperate Housewives,” think again. This is a deep, rich tapestry of layers, and each is peeled back in turn.

If you like an excellent mystery, with realistic characters rather than caricatures, you’ll enjoy “Presumed Guilty.” If stories of relationships are more your style, the web spun by Bell will suit you nicely. Fans of the well-written word will find cause for applause here as well. There is enough procedural information to suit fans of police stories, enough law to please the most die-hard “Perry Mason” fan.

"Presumed Guilty" is published by Zondervan and is available at most bookstores. For more about James Scott Bell, visit his website at

Copyright 2007 Mary Beth Magee

Movie Review - "The Ultimate Gift"

When the cast list contains James Garner, the movie has a head start in my book. So it was with "The Ultimate Gift." Although his character dies early on in the flic, his presence is felt via videotaped messages.

Garner's character (Red Stevens) is the grandfather of Drew Fuller's character (Jason Stevens). This is a story of one man making a difference in a loved one's life, even from the grave. The script is based on the book of the same name by Jim Stovall. If you've fallen in love with the book, please be forewarned this movie is not a word for word adaptation. Instead, it starts with the same main characters and travels its own route to get to the conclusion

Jason has been spoiled and pampered his entire life. Red uses an unusual bequest to try to make a difference in the young man's perspective. That bequest is delivered in stages, as Jason completes tasks described in monthly videotapes from his dead grandfather in the office of attorney Ted Hamilton (played with crusty authority by Bill Cobb). Also on hand is the wonderful Lee Meriwether as Hamilton's trusted secretary, Miss Hastings.

Along his road to redemption as a human being, Jason meets a number of people. Most influential in his revamping are Brain Dennehy as his grandfather's longtime friend and partner and Alexia and Emily, a mother-daughter duo played by Ali Hillis and Abigail Breslin, respectively. Jason will learn life lessons from them and others. (You wouldn't expect less, would you?)

Watching this obnoxious young man become a decent human being is a wonderful transformation. Going through the lessons with him is an inspiration. Fox Faith Movies has delivered a great family film (the PG rating reflects a bit of violence - not graphic and it certainly was in keeping with the movie's theme). This is not a sermon, but it certainly packs a strong message.

My only regret is James Garner's announcement that this is his last movie. At 79, he's entitled to retire, but I will miss that charming southwest drawl. And he couldn't have picked a more impressive message to deliver as the capstone to his distinguished career.

"The Ultimate Gift" will be out on DVD soon. If you missed it in the theater, so yourself a huge favor and get it. You won't be sorry.

Movie Review - "Facing the Giants"

"Facing the Giants" looks like a football film on the outside, but it is far more than a simple sports flick. There is enough football to satisfy the jock types, but also enough relationship storyline to satisfy the romantics and a good solid message underlying the whole thing.

A thoroughly enjoyable film, suitable for the whole family, this movie offers humorous bits just where they're needed and delivers the drama when it's appropriate.

The characters are genuine and very identifiable as people in the real world. None of them are perfect, but all are well-rounded. There are no big name stars here, just a group of people who earnestly believe in what they are trying to accomplish. In my opinion, they accomplish it admirably.

Take a football team from a private high school in Georgia (where football is nearly as sacred as it is in Texas) and give them a history of losing seasons. Add a coach (filled with self-doubt, as played by Alex Kendrick)) who is assisted by two of the biggest malapropism spouters (JT Hawkins and Brady Owens) in recent filmdom. Mix in restless parents, teenage angst and backstage machinations. Top with the coach’s wife, a woman desperate to be a mother (played by Brooke Taylor with elegant simplicity). Stir thoroughly and serve with a topping of struggle. Garnish with faith and serve to any fan of family friendly films.

One unforgettable scene has to do with a “death crawl,” an exercise where one player crawls across the field on hands and toes while carrying another player on his back. If you can sit still through this scene, check your pulse – you may be dead!

If you judge a movie on how many special effects there are, how many things get blown up, how many four-letter words get thrown about and how many people get butchered - you'll hate "Facing the Giants." If you like a story with struggles, disappointments but above all, hope - you'll like it. This is a movie you can watch with you parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, a date or a spouse.

Produced by Sherwood Pictures, “Facing the Giants” is now available on DVD at many outlets or by ordering from Sherwood Pictures at

(Expanded from a review I originally wrote Sept, 30, 2006 for

© 2007 Mary Beth Magee

"When The Nile Runs Red" by DiAnn Mills

“When the Nile Runs Red”
DiAnn Mills
Published by Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL
ISBN-13: 978-0-8024-9911-0
ISBN-10: 0-8024-9911-2

What do you like best in a book? What are the characteristics you look for in deciding to purchase one or check it out of the library? Do you look for action? Romance? Adventure? High drama? Well-drawn characters?

Then take a look at “When the Nile Runs Red,” by DiAnn Mills. This prolific Christian author delivers a well-told story of life in the southern Sudan filled with all of those elements and more. She gives us a trio of complex leading characters, savage yet elegant scenery and a storyline right out of the headlines.

Meet Paul Farid, an Arabic Muslim from a wealthy family. Attractive, educated, well-spoken – Paul is on the road to success. His trip is detoured when he becomes converted to Christianity and realizes his past behavior toward the people of the south is at odds with his new faith system. Paul’s actions, and his fortune, are now dedicated to helping the people he previously worked to destroy.

Dr. Larson Farid, Paul’s American wife is more than his life partner. She is also his co-laborer in the desperate villages of the southern Sudan. As a medical doctor, Larson works to heal bodies damaged by the ongoing violence. As a woman, she teaches other women skills to minimize the health hazards around them. As a Christian, she ministers to spirits thirsting for Truth.

The third part of the equation is Colonel Ben Alier, the military man bearing both physical and spiritual scars from the constant warfare in which he lives. Ben leads the Rhino Batallion, fighting for freedom and peace in southern Sudan.

These three form an unlikely yet highly effective team as they work to build a better life for those in southern Sudan. Success seems to be close at hand with the signing of a peace treaty and appointment of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement leader John Garang as vice president to the national government. Is their work done?

Mills has taken a national tragedy to a personal level in “When the Nile Runs Red.” Rather than a simply relating a sweeping story of global events, she brings us the impact of those events on individual lives. Her characters are imperfect humans, struggling to be their best and offer their best to others in a world where the price for lack of vigilance can be betrayal and the result of failure is death. No cardboard fillers here – the people are multi-layered, deep and realistic. They trip and fall; they persevere and endure; they question along the way.

This book is very much like a funnel, drawing the reader deeper and deeper into the lives of the characters. I found it difficult to put down at the end of a chapter (I tend to do my recreational reading “a chapter now, a chapter later.”) and wanted to keep going.

There are elements of romance, adventure, political intrigue, mystery and travelogue within the pages. Although the book continues the story of characters first introduced in “When the Lion Roars,” prior reading of that novel is not necessary to enjoy “Nile.” Neither is having an in-depth understanding of the political environment of Sudan. Mills puts everything in context as the story progresses.

As a reader, I especially enjoyed her descriptive passages. I have never traveled to Africa, yet I could see and feel and taste and smell the land she describes in this book and I am left with a longing to return to a place I haven’t physically been yet.

I also appreciate her careful plotting. Reading about people who never make an error is boring – let’s face it, Christians make mistakes, too! These were people I could easily meet in any world – they just happened to be in Sudan and the story grows naturally out of their actions. Few things turn me off on a book as thoroughly as a forced plot. You won’t find that here.

As a Christian, I appreciate the underlying faith of this book. Beyond that, I appreciate Mills and Moody Publishers putting their faith on line and using income from the sale of “When the Nile Runs Red” to support aid efforts in the southern Sudan.

I’m a firm believer in libraries – I have a library card and I use it. This time, though, I don’t want you to use your library card. More than simply urging you to read “When the Nile Runs Red,” I urge you to buy it to read it. You’ll be providing humanitarian aid as well as giving yourself a good read! (By the way, it would make a great Christmas gift for the readers on your list!)

For more about author DiAnn Mills and her earlier books, visit her webpage at

© 2007 Mary Beth Magee

Sunday, July 26, 2009

'Unveiling Mary Magdalene' by Liz Curtis Higgs

Mary Magdalene seems to be the “It” girl of the first decade of the 21st century. She has been variously portrayed as a slut, a prostitute, an adulteress, an epileptic, a business woman; she’s been labeled Jesus’ financial supporter, his lover, his wife and mother of his child(ren). Before Dan Brown made her a clue in his code, she was one of the Bad Girls of the Bible to author Liz Curtis Higgs.

Higgs excels at the practice of taking a well-known Bible story and setting it in a different locale, a different time period to remind us of the enduring truth underlying the familiar words. For her, Mary Magdalene is ripe for transporting to modern-day Chicago. Higgs does an admirable job of turning Magdalene into Mad Mary Margaret Delaney, an off-kilter woman roaming the streets of the north side. When Mary meets pastor Jake Stauros, her life takes a totally different tack.

Jake leads a barely surviving neighborhood church (across the street from a moving company’s warehouse, to give you an idea of the neighborhood) and specializes in helping those whom society has cast off. Mary fits the bill nicely. Through a series of events, we see Mary leave the tormented landscape of her mind and rejoin society.

Through Mary Delaney, Higgs sweeps away the centuries to bring us a portrait of a troubled woman who is redeemed by faith. The tone is gently conversational, as though Higgs is bringing you up-to-date on a mutual friend. While remaining faithful to known Biblical information, she fleshes out the character in a fresh setting to make us rethink the position of Mary Magdalene in the early days of the church.

The first half of the book relates Mary’s path; the second half is a study of the person behind the story and the basis of Higgs’ conclusions about her. It works on both levels. This book is imminently suitable for use as a study group subject and satisfying as a novel. Taken together, the book is a gem. Originally published as “Mad Mary,” the renamed “Unveiling Mary Magdalene” is a great read. It is available at most bookstores, as well as through Higgs online store. Visit her website at, if you have any difficulty finding it or would like to know more about this prolific author.

Copyright 2007 Mary Beth Magee

'No Legal Grounds' by James Scott Bell

Attorneys are sworn to uphold the law. What happens to one when the law he has trusted, defended and supported his entire adult life cannot protect him and his family?

This question takes on ominous importance for Sam Trask, protagonist of "No Legal Grounds," a legal thriller by James Scott Bell. Bell is a former trial lawyer himself and brings a ring of truth to the book.

Sam appeared to have everything going for him: loving wife, great kids, and successful law practice. The appearances begin to crumble when a former classmate from Sam's college days suddenly insinuates himself into Sam's life. What appears to be a reunion with an old acquaintance is really the start of a campaign of terror which threatens to destroy Sam, his family and his practice.

In a series of events every bit as exciting as any Stephen King novel, Trask fights to hold on to his family, his practice, his integrity, his faith and his very life. This is no light legal fiction. It is hard-hitting and emotionally draining.

Using language like a sculptor's knife, Bell delineates a soul in crisis. He shows us how the system works and, unfortunately, sometimes fails to work on behalf of victims. We walk this thorny path with Sam Trask, as he watches the chasm growing between him and all he holds dear.

Bell is a Christy Award winning novelist. He can tell a legal story without resorting to vulgarity or gratuitous sex. But don't pick up this book expecting a squeaky clean, goody-two-shoes story. Bell has drawn realistic characters in horrible situations and does not shy away from telling the story in its entirety.

"No Legal Grounds" is published by Zondervan and is available at most bookstores. For more about James Scott Bell, visit his website at

Copyright 2007 Mary Beth Magee

'Louder Than Thunder: A Contemporary Business Parable' by Carol Dunitz, Ph.D.

“Louder Than Thunder: A Contemporary Business Parable”
By Carol Dunitz, Ph. D
Illustrations by Helen Gotlib
Published by Canterbury & Parkside, 101 pages, hardcover
ISBN 0-9748659-0-7

When a skilled and accomplished craftsperson takes time to share their secrets, a wise person will listen. Carol Dunitz is a professional communicator who combines knowledge and theater to present entertaining and enlightening seminars on communications skills. She has chosen to share some of her secrets in writing through the highly readable “Louder Than Thunder.”

Dunitz frames her disclosures in the form of a series of vignettes which follow the life of a “very determined” little girl. Along the way, the girl learns lessons of life which she applies to future situations. These lessons are solid principles for business success, as well as for life.

“Louder Than Thunder” is a quick read, with its pages generally laced with illustrations. Don’t be fooled…quick read doesn’t equate to fluff. There are valuable nuggets of wisdom within each chapter. Rather than buried in obscure professorial language, these nuggets are easily available in a delightful story. The danger is the reader may mistake ease of access with lack of value.

This is a book for everyone. Although subtitled as a business book, there are applications to life itself. It can be read aloud as an entertainment to children, used as the basis of a business class or anything in between.

I won’t spoil it by giving you the details, but there is a very special riddle in the book. Think it through before you look at the answer – it will be well worth your while to reflect on it.

The book is available through the author’s website,

© 2007 Mary Beth Magee

'The Greatest Salesman in the World' by Og Mandino

"The Greatest Salesman in the World" is a mighty big book in a small package. The book is a classic, yet it is contemporary. It is fiction, yet it is truth. It is a self-help book, a sales training book, a romance, a spiritual book and an entertaining story, all at the same time.

Og Mandino first published "Salesman" in the late 1960's. Since then it has been reprinted and re-released numerous times. I first encountered the book in the mid-1970's, when I heard the late Mr. Mandino being interviewed on a talk radio program. The book sounded so interesting, I immediately bought a copy. It was my first Mandino book, but not my last. I am on my third copy of "Salesman," having worn out or given away the others.

The little book opens with a young camel boy, Hafid, seeking a means to improve his lot in life. He wants to become a salesman and to earn wealth and happiness. His first test is to sell a single blanket in the town of Bethlehem, a village bypassed by the experienced salesmen as not worth their time. Through his experiences there, Hafid shows himself to be the chosen student to study ten scrolls of success.

Mandino himself was a salesman for many years. Following a time of personal desperation, he became a student of motivational writings, especially those of W. Clement Stone. Taking and applying what he learned, he changed his situation, even going to work for Stone. Later, he synthesized his theories into several books, the first of which was "The Greatest Salesman in the World."

By couching the lessons in a fictional framework, Mandino makes the book very palatable. The story gives the details of the ten "Scrolls of Success," passed to Hafid from his employer. This is no dry text. It is a workbook for change without making the change a torture.

The first scroll gives instructions for using the other nine. Each of the follo
wing scrolls focuses on a principle of success, both in business and in life. Lessons of caring, perseverance and appreciation of what one has are only a few of the offerings of the scrolls.

Whether you are in sales or not, you will find "Salesman" satisfying on some level. If nothing more than a historical romance, it is worth your time. It is a quick read and a lifelong study tool, as you prefer. Enter Hafid's world. You will not leave it without experiencing something very special.

"The Greatest Salesman in the World" by Og Mandino is available in paperback. The official Og Mandino website calls it the #1 selling self-help book of all time. Mandino's legacy will work change in the world for generations to come.

© 2007 Mary Beth Magee

Saturday, July 25, 2009

'Skidmarks on the Road of Life' by Ann Downing

When you think life can't get any better, you should read 'Skidmarks on the Road of Life.' When you are sure life can't possibly get any worse, you should read 'Skidmarks on the Road of Life.'

This little gem of a book recounts the highs and lows faced by gospel singer/songwriter/author/conference speaker Ann Downing. Joy, pain, disillusionment and enlightenment are all part of her story, along with triumph and more.

Ann's fan base, known as the fANNtastics, will already be familiar with some of her story. Others will find revelations of her inner thoughts as she recounts her career, courtship and marriage, widowhood and the lessons God has given her along the way. Written in a very conversational style, the book feels like a chat with a friend.

For comfort and encouragement, Ann's biography is a rich resource. You're sure to find at least one episode (and probably many more) which will touch your heart. The book is highly readable. My only complaint is that I wanted more - when I came to the end of the book, I felt as though I was saying goodbye to a pal.

'Skidmarks on the Road of Life' carries a subtitle: 'Every Path Has A Purpose - Every Mile Has A Meaning.' Ann Downing shares what she has learned along the way and her story is one that carries a mighty impact.

'Skidmarks on the Road of Life' by Ann Downing
Published by LifeBridge Books at $12.95
ISBN 978-0-9817608-6-5
It is available through many channels, including Ann Downing's website (

© 2009 Mary Beth Magee