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[480] Good Christian Bitches – Kim Gatlin

” Gossip’s nothing more than evaluating and exploiting other people, and it’s wrong but very easy to participate in, unfortuantely. Too many people get their value from being the one ‘in the know’ and more often than not, they had bad information—and it’s very hurtful and damaging to people. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion of someone, but no one’s entitled to their own set of facts about someone. So often, gossip is presented and then repeated as fact, and it can be devastating to someone’s reputation. ” (Ch.24, p.229)

After twelve years in Southern California and a failed marriage, Amanda Vaughn is thrilled to be back in texas, with two children in tow, where she hopes to derive comofrt in her own backyard and reacquaint with her old friends. But to her utter dismany, the gossip mill in Hillside Park, Dallas is as powerful as ever. She stumbles upon a bible study in which a group of strangers casually discuss the intimate details of her shattered life—how her philandering ex-husband’s infidelities and dishonesty have uprooted her and her children’s lives.

Amanda felt that if you were going to be a party girl, be a party girl. If you were going to hold yourself up as a fine Christian woman, be more mindful of the behavior you demonstrate—but how you could serve two such radically different masters never made sense to Amanda. (Ch.3, p.31-32)

When her girlfriend from high school, Sharon Peavy, approaches her about being the new chair of Longhorn Ball, a long-term tradition for a charitable cause, Amanda takes it as means to reintegrate herself into the society. But she quickly realizes her friend is far from acting out of deceny and finds herself trapped in a world of salacious rumors and schemes to sabotage her reputation.

We’ve got an event that was the highlight of the social calendar in Hillside Park for over thirty years, and it was screwed up so badly by the last person to run it that nobody wants to go near it. And we’ve got a whispering campaign that’s actually hit the newspaper, whereby there’s not a single woman in Hillside Park who wants to lift a finger to help me . . . (Ch.25, p.237)

The organization and its finance are in shambles. No banks and vendors would work with Longhorn. All the wmen in town, at Sharon’s manipulation, gang up against her. In the middle of all these is one woman’s scheme fueled by her jealousy. She’s jealous of Amanda and Amanda’s life, who gets all the breaks and that she comes home as a divorced woman poses new threat to her.

Amanda couldn’t tell whether she was being sincere or not. That she thought of one of her ex-husband’s favorite sayings—that the hardest thing in the world to demonstrate is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you’ve got it made. And she asked herself again, Why am I so suspicious of these women? (Ch.10, p.104)

Packed with schemes, drama, and humor, Good Christian Bitches is a social comedy and commentary. I am not left with the impression that Gatlin goes out of her way to trash Christianity. Instead she is laying out those who claim to be Christian and yet put their worldy desires above the desire to be like Christ. The book is actually well-written and entertaining. It is satirical of our self-righteousness and double standards. This is not a book that requires you to read between the lines and derive some underlying meaning, but it keeps me engrossed for an entire afternoon by the pool.

291 pp. Hyperion Press. Paper. [Read/Skim/Toss] [Buy/Borrow]