Review: Prayers of a Stranger: A Christmas Story

Monday, November 5, 2012

Prayers of a Stranger: A Christmas Story
Prayers of a Stranger: A Christmas Story by Davis Bunn

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Prayers of a Stranger: A Christmas Story is the first book I've read by Davis Bunn and I really wish I could say that I enjoyed it but I am afraid I will not read anything else from this author. I know that I am not the best writer in the world so maybe I shouldn’t have a gripe when it comes to grammar or sentence structure—but this author is a serious abuser of conjunctions. One sentence alone held as many as five and I would nearly groan every single time I saw the word “and” used. Also, the dialogue between the characters was flat and unappealing with odd descriptive phrases like, “He had the slender build of a violinist.” This is a news flash to me. My daughters have played violin for years and I have never realized that a violinist has a build that a person would use as a comparison.

Another complaint that I had was all of the medical jargon between the main character, Amanda and a doctor. I thought too much time was spent on a medical condition and though that information may have been accurate, I questioned the validity of it due to the fact that several times through the story doctors and mothers suggested an ice bath to bring down a fever, describing a high fever as 101-102F. Anyone with children would know that ice baths are not suggested to bring down a fever of 101-102 and that shivering can increase the core temperature. Further, the nurse went on to suggest using an aspirin for future treatment. The U.S. Surgeon General, the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and WHO recommend that aspirin not be given to children under 19 years of age as it can cause Reye's Syndrome. I do not presume to be a doctor and maybe aspirin is the correct treatment in a two year old with the condition this child had but such medical intricacies should be left to a medical professional as someone may get the idea that they need to pack their toddler in ice for a low-grade fever.

About the Story:
Amanda Vance is a nurse specializing in crisis-care in the pediatric/obstetrics ward of the hospital. That is—until she lost her baby. Her husband is struggling to cope with their loss as well as run a company that is struggling in today’s economy.

When their neighbor gives Amanda the chance to travel with her to Israel, her husband encourages her to go. To seek peace and healing in the land of our Lord’s birth. There, Amanda meets an older lady that cares for children out of her home and Amanda’s medical knowledge leads to healing for a young child—and herself.

Other Complaints:
I really wish I could have expanded my review about the story. I feel it is short and doesn’t tell much but honestly there isn’t much to tell. The author rambles through the dialogue and uses very odd descriptions like this one “He could smell the vague odor of the long flight in her hair. He tasted the dryness of her lips” I literally sat there thinking “GROSS!” when I read that. She stank and had dry lips—not a very appealing description. Okay, maybe I already touched on the weird descriptions but I am still scratching my head over this and felt the need to reiterate how truly bizarre they were.

The characters also met random people that they struck up conversations with without so much as an explanation of who they were. One such character met Amanda on a train—a total stranger that went on to accompany her to another person’s home and then to the hospital—demanding medical care for a child she had never previously met. Why? I mean…come on, never in real life would a total stranger take it upon themselves to accompany someone to the hospital and demand proper care.

I dislike giving negative reviews but there was nothing about this story that was remotely appealing and the odd descriptions were more than I could stomach. I will not be reading anything more by this author and I would have to say that this particular book earns the title of being the worst book that I have read this year. I honestly had trouble even giving it a 1-star rating as I felt it didn’t deserve that much. Complete waste of my time and such a disappointment.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

I looked up information on the medical condition outlined in this book and wanted to share what I found.

Direct Book Quote: "Aspirin is usually better for the patient than paracetamol."

Information I found via states the following:

G6PD Deficiency Drugs to Avoid and Other Contraindicated Substances

NSAIDS (Asprin, Ibuprophen)
Drugs metabolized through the liver or known to cause blood or liver related problems or hemolysis
Sulfa drugs
Petrochemically derived substances (This is a long list and gets longer every year. Many artificial foods, dyes and vitamins are included in this list.)
Mothballs and anything containing naphthalene.
Artificial Food Coloring (Methylene and Toluidine blue)

View all my reviews

2 Responses to “Review: Prayers of a Stranger: A Christmas Story”

  1. Great review - I came very close to selecting this book from Booksneeze. You have saved me from a disappointment.

    I can put up with grammatical errors, even typos and missing words, but when an author offers 'medical advice' that might be taken as valid by unsuspecting readers, that crosses a line.

    I write about health issues on my blog and never would I presume to give advice. Doing so, even in a work of fiction through a 'medical professional' character, strikes me as irresponsible.

  2. I completely agree! I shuddered to think that some mother might pack her toddler in ice or give it aspirin after reading this story! That's why I backed my review up with references :)