Joel Carpenter is a single divorced father who shares custody of his three-year-old son Colton with his ex-wife, Kari. A hairdresser, Joel is just trying to get through life being the best father he
can be. His marriage was shattered when he made a poor choice that snowballed into an irreparable break in the relationship,
and he looks back on his past with Kari as he attempts to deal with the struggles of everyday life. Then Kari receives some bad news, and she and Joel must learn to get along in their relationship in a different way for the sake of their son.
A Bigger Life is a true gem.
Using the first-person viewpoint of Joel, author Annette Smith gives the male character a realistic and effective voice. The issues dealt with in the plot are handled sensitively and carry quite an emotional impact. Joelís quest to right the wrongs of his past, to explore issues of faith, and to learn how to be a better person are authentically communicated. The exploration of faith, as well as the journey Joel takes to find God, is incredibly heartfelt. Readers will be able to relate to where he has come from and learn from his mistakes as he does.
The supporting characters, including Joelís group of friends, their children, and his clients and co-workers at the salon, give depth to the story. Each character has a place in the narrative and enhances the story rather than confusing things. Even though we arenít privy to Kariís thought process, it is easy to understand the choices she
has made and makes. Itís difficult to delve too deep into the plot without giving away major spoilers, and giving those away would really take away from A Bigger Lifeís impact.
Exploring the themes of what it means to want a bigger life, a different life, a better life, A Bigger Life will resonate with readers. The cover says this is ďAn Eden Plain Novel,Ē which I hope means there will be more books featuring these characters and their lives.