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Friday, December 19, 2014

Old Fashioned

Old Fashioned by Rene Gutteridge (based on a Screenplay by Rik Swartzwelder) is the first book I have read based on a screenplay. It's a bit different, because while reading it you totally see it more as a movie than a book. But in a good way. 

"Turning his back on his reckless lifestyle, former frat boy Clay Walsh has settled down to run an antique shop in a small Midwestern college town...and to pursue lofty and outdated theories on love and romance. But when Amber Hewson, a free-spirited woman with a gypsy soul, rents the apartment above his shop, Clay can't help being attracted to her spontaneous and passionate embrace of life."

As the interview with Rik in the back states, "I'd say I believed there was a story that wasn't being told at all and I felt compelled to try." THIS sums the book up perfectly. In a day when sex and lust is in every story, every movie, every aspect of our life it was refreshing to read a book that showed love and not lust, purity instead of sex. 

With that said, it seems the ball was dropped in normalizing purity. The fact is, sexual abstinence and old-fashioned romance is rare these days, but making the main character so weird in his ideas almost pokes fun at the idea of purity. Going to a marriage counselor on a first date? A financial adviser on a second date? It seems more like a spoof than a story of a man wanting to do right.

I love the idea of a person changing from a wild life to a more chaste one. I love the idea of a book showing a couple who decides to wait for sex until marriage. Or even a couple being careful with how far they will go while dating.

But this book seems so far fetched. One, without giving a big piece of the plot away, is I don't believe that Clay's previous girlfriend would have dated him at all when she was waiting until marriage to have sex, yet he was a complete creep (once you find out what his "job" was you will understand). I know good girls often go for the bad boys but that part of the story didn't jive at all.

Second, the ending was too romanticized. I get it, it's based on a movie where you either have to go big or go home, but it was quite unbelievable. I didn't even understand why or how the "sand" at the end got in the story (again, you'll have to read it to understand this reference). 

With all the negatives said, I did enjoy the book. I liked how different it was than the typical love stories. I just wish it has normalized purity instead of turning it into an extreme case of weirdness. I do look forward to the movie and think it's kind of neat that it will be opening the same weekend as "Fifty Shades of Grey". Two extreme views competing against each other. 

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by Tyndale Publishing in exchange for my honest review.    

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