Just As I Am, begins with the main character, Mayla Strong, being baptized at her mother's church in Saliesberg, KY. Before she knew what she was doing, she was caught by the Holy Spirit and walked down the aisle to give herself to the Lord. This is not new material for Christian writing. But this new believer, with her pierced nose, lip and ears (5 times), and her purple hair, is not the typical main character of a Christian novel. Mayla is a refreshing personality who has no preconceived notions of what a Christian should be. The reader is taken along with her in the learning process and gets a glimpse of church through an outcast's eyes.
I learned to like each of the characters in the book, even if several were not very lovable at first. Maylas roommate, Sylvia, who had been hurt by Christians, became very defiant and antagonistic toward Christians. Stuart, a gay neighbor arranged for Mayla to visit a friend dying of Aids and Mr. Holmes, a stern, long-time church member always managed to show his disapproval of Mayla at each meeting. These are all balanced by Pastor Paul who passionately loves God
If you look for mystery, adventure or deep sub-plots in your reading, this is not the book for you. Just As I Am is lighthearted, contemporary fiction. I cried sometimes and laughed a lot. It is entertaining, easy reading with a bonus. I got a surprising reminder and deeper understanding of the truth that God loves each of us just as we are and meets us just where we are. I recommend this book. It left me inspired and encouraged, thanking God and Mrs. Smith for the lesson in Christian living.
Visit the author,s website here: Virginia Smith