Stress Family Robinson 2: The Birthday Party (by Adrian Plass)

Having just finished re-reading the first 'Stress Family Robinson' book by Adrian Plass - one of my favourite Christian writers - I immediately picked up the second one.

I've only read 'Stress Family Robinson 2: The Birthday Party' once: it was ten years ago. I remembered the overall theme - that of preparing for a birthday party for Kathy, the Robinson mother. I also remembered something significant in her friend Dip's past that suddenly came to light. But I'd pretty much forgotten everything else.

I thoroughly enjoyed it once more, seeing the interactions between the family members, told this time from Kathy's point of view. Adrian Plass has a great gift of characterisation, and of injecting humour into some very thought-provoking situations.

Dip's confession of something terrible in her past, which also triggers someone else's memories of childhood horrors, is remarkably moving, and sensitively handled. But it's in the context of day-to-day squabbles within the family, and repeated arguments between Kathy and her husband Mike.

I didn't relate so much to Dip in this book as I did in the first one, but enjoyed re-reading it again anyway. Definitely best to read as sequel to the other.

Although this book is still in print, it has been re-published together with the first 'Stress Family Robinson' book under the new title of 'Keeping up with the Robinsons'.

Do not make the mistake I did and purchase the latter in great excitement, thinking it to be a long-awaited third book in the series. However, if you don't have either of them, it's well worth buying.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, 20th June 2010

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