It is entirely possible that author Jamie Gates has found inspiration through God and that she has a tale to tell of her journey to redemption or salvation or just living a fulfilled life. But if that tale is in her mind or heart, as her book’s back cover notes, it is nowhere to be found in the pages of Gracefully Design.
In fact, it is not clear what she had hoped to do with her first book, even though the cover notes call her effort “a book of hope” that “outlines the journey of a very shy, quiet girl who shows that God is always with her.”
Instead, Gates has penned (in very large font) an odd listing of family names, occasional outings and trips, family events, and church sermon notes, complete with addresses and phone numbers of most everyone she mentions. The recitations — all devoid of discernible purpose — seem to belong more in a Daytimer than a memoir. It doesn’t even rise to diary status because there is no emotion attached.
Gates starts the book by writing that she, her daughter and an aunt take a trip to Atlanta. She includes notations of where they stayed (Drury Inn & Suites) and the name of the bus driver (“Mr. Davis”). She randomly mentions that it is the summer Gabby Douglas won Olympic Gold and that billboards advertised Whitney Houston’s upcoming movie Sparkle and that her sister wanted her to read the book The Help.
All of this cataloging leads readers to assume there surely must be more going on than appears. Maybe it is all some kind of device to get to a deeper meaning, reminiscent of the letters to God in The Color Purple. ”But at the end of 39 pages the point is never reached; The “and then” never arrives. Perhaps Gates does have a story to tell. But there is no story here.
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