Book Review

The Art of Losing Yourself by Katie Ganshert – A Messy and Beautiful Coming-Of-Age Story

About the Book:The Art of Losing Yourself Katie Ganshert
Author: Katie Ganshert
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Source: Publisher Provided
Publication Date: 2015
Find the Review elsewhere:
Amazon ǀ Blogger ǀ Goodreads
Find the Book Elsewhere:
Amazon ǀ Barnes & Noble ǀ Goodreads
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary
Rating: 5 out of 5

REVIEW | Since it first released, I had every intention of reading Katie Ganshert’s latest novel. Her novel A Broken Kind of Beautiful lived up to its title and then some. Still, for whatever reason, it took the 2016 INSPYs before I actually picked up another of Katie’s amazing books. To my great pleasure, her latest novel is again, a study in what good fiction should be.

Told in duel first-person perspectives, we meet Carmen Hart, a woman with the perfect life to the outside world. Every day, she is the popular weather girl, married to a loved high school teacher who has it all. Privately, she’s anything but “together.” Suffering multiple miscarriages, Carmen is a heartbroken mess of a woman without any real desire for seeking God. Enter Gracie, Carmen’s teenage half-sister, who is also anything but well adjusted. As these two broken lives collide, will there be healing or more heartbreak?

You shouldn’t let something that happened in the past stop you from having something that could be great in the present.” -Katie Ganshert

Given this novel bears the name Katie Ganshert, I’m not in the least surprised it’s such a joy to read. Using the noun “joy” as a descriptor might be a bit misleading since this novel is about devastating losses (in more ways than one). However, it’s because of those heartbreaking loss that this one is joyous. Carmen’s character is one of the most complex and intriguing women I’ve met on the page in a long time. She’s closed off to the world around her which makes her journey one we root for all the more. We want so much more for her because, deep down, we know, despite the loss of her dream she has so much more to give.

As we’ve come to expect, Katie’s signature writing is present which surprises, compels and impresses us in equal turns. Properly giving credit to all of the beautiful things about this novel is impossible. I’ve not even begun to touch on all of the moving pieces involved. This would mean a much longer review, which no one is likely interested in. But, I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a brief rundown, which does seem in order. From the men who capture Carmen and Gracie’s hearts, helping to mold and change them into their best selves to the emotional fallout with their mother, this novel boasts no weak link. It’s a heart-wrenching and beautiful challenge. There are many things left to chance, which is, sometimes the best way to end a story.

Synopsis: Every morning, Carmen Hart pastes on her made-for-TV smile and broadcasts the weather. She’s the Florida panhandle’s favorite meteorologist, married to everyone’s favorite high school football coach. They’re the perfect-looking couple, live in a nice house, and attend church on Sundays. From the outside, she’s a woman who has it all together. But on the inside, Carmen Hart struggles with doubt. She wonders if she made a mistake when she married her husband. She wonders if God is as powerful as she once believed. Sometimes she wonders if He exists at all. After years of secret losses and empty arms, she’s not so sure anymore.

Until Carmen’s sister—seventeen year old runaway, Gracie Fisher—steps in and changes everything. Gracie is caught squatting at a boarded-up motel that belongs to Carmen’s aunt, and their mother is off on another one of her benders, which means Carmen has no other option but to take Gracie in. Is it possible for God to use a broken teenager and an abandoned motel to bring a woman’s faith and marriage back to life? Can two half-sisters make each other whole? – Goodreads

Sincere thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this novel in consideration of the INSPYs shortlists.

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