Tilly (by Frank Peretti)

It's many years since I first read books by Frank Peretti. I've re-read a few of them, and although they're not really my kind of genre - Christian thrillers, basically - the plots are good, and I found them quite thought-provoking. Peretti is not strong on characterisation, but in a fast-paced exiting novel that doesn't matter too much.

However, I had never come across his short novel 'Tilly' until I saw it on a friend's shelves while babysitting. I picked it up, and read it in an evening. It's a strange book. It's about someone who has managed to block out something terrible that she did nine years ago, and at last finds a way of moving forward with forgiveness. There's a twist towards the end that I was not expecting, but most if it is fairly predictable.

It's also about loneliness, and family life, and love... and in the hands of some authors, could have been extremely moving. Unfortunately, the characters are very flat, and there's almost no plot; the most important part of the book is a lengthy dream sequence.

There are odd plot inconsistencies too. At least, I hope they are inconsistencies. The blurb on the back makes it clear that this book takes a clear anti-abortion stance. I don't have a problem with that at all, but the circumstances in this book surround a healthy unborn baby, old enough to survive outside the womb, belonging to a happily married couple. No doctor is legally able to destroy a baby at this stage - or at any time unless there is a serious threat to the health of either the mother or the baby. And in this story, not only did it happen, but the doctor was attended by a Christian nurse.

I really don't know what age-group it would be suitable for. The length and reading level is approximately that of early chapter books, usually intended for children aged around 6-9.

But the content, obviously, is more suited to older teens and young adults - and even then, not entirely relevant since the bizarre situation makes no sense at all. In addition, the Christian content is quite strong, which is likely to be off-putting to those outside Christian circles.

Not a bad book, I suppose; it gives a message of sorts. But not one I expect to be reading again.

Not really recommended.

Review copyright Sue's Book Reviews, February 2012

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