“Late Nights on the Straight and Narrow” by Alana Brown
People who really know me know that if they really don’t want to hear a truthful answer to a question, they shouldn’t ask me. Okay, an exception might be any variation of the “Do these jeans make me look fat?” question. I try to be honest but hey, I’m not stupid about it.
But in general I don’t think lying to a person about their missteps does them any good. I think tactful, constructive criticism is better for a person than a lie to spare their feelings or stay on their good side. So if you get a speeding ticket for doing 50 in a 35 mph zone, don’t expect me to agree with you when you tell me that the cop was picking on you. I’m not that kind of friend.
I’m also a member of the If You Don’t Have Anything Good to Say Publicly Club. I don’t write negative reviews of books and movies. Since I’m not paid to write reviews, I don’t see the point in my trashing someone’s efforts publicly. If you ask my opinion of a book in private, I’ll tell you, even if it’s a negative opinion. But who am I to tell the world that something sucks just because I don’t like it? Hey, I don’t like mayonnaise, but I’m not going to tell you not to try it just because it makes me gag. You just might love that crap…um, condiment.
Alana Brown is a good and dear friend and my former editor. She wrote a book titled, Late Nights on the Straight and Narrow. When she published it I bought a copy to support her new endeavor. I mentioned to her that I would write a review. Then I wished that I hadn’t told her that and hoped that she’d forgotten I said it. What if I didn’t like her book? If I didn’t like it, I didn’t intend to write a negative review. If she one day remembered what I’d said and asked me why I hadn’t written a review, I was going to have to come up a tactful yet truthful reason. Damn.
So I started reading Late Nights on the Straight and Narrow with mentally crossed fingers. When I wrote my review I was mentally smiling, because…
Bam! Five Stars! That’s my girl!
Not because she’s my friend.
Because it’s a damned good book.
For your convenience, below you’ll find my posted review of Late Nights on the Straight and Narrow. Check it out, and then click on one of the links following and pick up a copy. I think you’ll enjoy it. Also check out Alana’s website Considering the Lily, where you’ll discover lots of spiritual food for thought.
I’m not a fan of self-help books. In my view many of them are about someone making money by stating the obvious – the things about ourselves and our lives that we ought to be able to see for ourselves if we look honestly into the mirrors of our existence. Many of those books take many pages to hold up the mirror for us and get us to chant a la Stuart Smalley, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.” As such, I picked up “Late Nights on the Straight and Narrow” with hope for something different, but also with an attitude of, “Let’s see how this plays out.”
It played out very well.
Author Alana Brown’s “Late Nights on the Straight and Narrow” is about relationships and how to maneuver through them to find the one – that person truly meant for us. Her advice is based on her life’s experiences, and is filtered through the shining light of her powerful faith in God and the teachings of The Christ.
“Late Nights” isn’t all syrupy romantic sweetness. “It’s not a “How to Get a Man (or Woman)” guide. Ms. Brown doesn’t provide the reader some self-help pep talk, though after her final chapter readers who were willing to receive her message with open minds and hearts will no doubt walk away feeling positive, and perhaps with a new confidence and determination about how they will navigate the bumps, twists and turns of romantic relationships.
Ms. Brown illuminates; she shines a light into the dark corners of our awareness and forces us to look at aspects of our character that we’ve chosen not to see, revelations that help us to understand that we carry a larger responsibility for our troubled and/or failed relationships than we sometimes care to admit. But it is by shining the light on our personal misconceptions and personal failings in dealing with relationships that this book provides us the motivation and inspiration to improve ourselves, and as a result, improve the quality of our relationships and the people we allow into our lives.
The strength of Ms. Brown’s book is its commonality. She uses her own life’s experiences as examples, but she writes them in a way that makes them relatable for every reader. Even if we haven’t had similar specific experiences, we can apply her information to our own lives and to current and future relationships. I suppose in that regard “Late Nights on the Straight and Narrow” is something of a self-help book. However, I think you’ll discover after a few pages that it feels more like a conversation with a learned friend, one you’ll often revisit after you’ve read the final sentence.
Add this one to your bookshelf.