Monday, November 25, 2013

"Fifteen Minutes" Review

Zack Dylan grew up on a horse farm in Kentucky with a wonderful family and a faith in God that sustains even during difficult times. Zack wants nothing more than to marry his college sweetheart and settle down in Kentucky where he can sing and lead worship for the youth at his local church.

But when financial problems come to his family and the farm, Zack decides to take his talent to a national stage by auditioning for a singing competition called “Fifteen Minutes.” Zack feels that he has enough talent to make it far in the competition, and he is convinced he can use this time to be a light for God as well as help out with his family’s financial difficulties.

More quickly than he ever thought possible, Zack becomes a national sensation. As he rises up the ranks on the show, Zack is asked to compromise his beliefs and to keep quiet about his relationship with God and about his relationship with his fiancé back home. The producers of the show only see the bottom line and will do whatever it takes to make Zack
into exactly who they want him to be, no matter the cost.

A behind-the-scenes look at a fictitious “American Idol”-type competition, Fifteen Minutes examines fame and everything that goes along with it.

Admittedly, I have not really enjoyed the previous novels by Karen Kingsbury that I have read. They were not horrible, but they just were not my types of books. But the summary of Fifteen Minutes struck me as interesting, and I wanted to keep an open mind and give Karen Kingsbury another try.

The first thing I noticed about this book was how easy it was to read. It had an interesting plot and, for the most part, it kept my attention. The behind-the-curtain look at a national singing competition was the most interesting part for me, and it seemed to be it was realistic. I used to watch “American Idol” when it was in its early seasons, but it has been a very long time since I have seen it. I got tired of all of the drama that went on that distracted from the actual singing part of the show. Even though it’s been a while since I have seen this type of show, I could see the competition of “Fifteen Minutes” unfolding in my mind’s eye as I was reading, almost like a movie.

As in the “Bailey Flannigan” series by Karen Kingsbury that I previously reviewed, I felt as if this book was not always extremely relatable in the sense of it focusing on all the fame and fortune, since I doubt most people will ever have to deal with that. However, it is a good reminder that as Christians we should be living out the love of Christ in our lives every day and in every circumstance.

I also thought that the “fame is bad” point that was made in this book got tiring after a while, and it definitely bogged down the story at times. I understand what the author was trying to say when writing this book, but it just felt as if I was being beaten over the head with it. “Fame is bad. There is always a price to pay with fame. There is no way to completely live as a Christian in the secular world of music and Hollywood.”

I also wonder what else might be going on as the author was writing this book, considering
that Karen Kingsbury is so famous herself. Is it different because her fame is within a Christian setting? I say that it’s not. So it made me wonder where this “fame is bad” mantra was coming from. It definitely seemed as if she had an agenda.

The best part of the message about fame, however, was the point that as Christians, we are not meant to worship people. We were made to worship God. This is an excellent point that has stuck with me since I finished the book.

As for the story as a whole, it wasn’t bad. Zack’s plotline was very interesting, but it was sometimes surprising to see just how easily he fell into the fame game. He seemed to be really naïve about things at times, but then again, he was young and had never had his faith tested like this before.

There were a few other stories told in this book as well. The reader gets the story from the view of Reese, Zack’s fiancé back home, as well as two of the judges of “Fifteen Minutes.” Their stories were fairly interesting, but each of these characters seemed to be written to the extreme, which kept them from being completely realistic to me.

Overall, this novel had an interesting plot that might actually have made a better movie than a book.

I will give Fifteen Minutes ... 3 BookWorms.

Fifteen Minutes
by Karen Kingsbury
Howard Books
Publication date: October 29, 2013

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Howard Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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