Book Review: Waiting at Jimmy’s
By Ashley Gatimu, Contributing Writer
WAITING AT JIMMY’S is a novel about a girl named Clara who just recently graduated college and is looking for her first big job to start her career. She had high hopes after graduation. However, after two months pass and still no job leads, she begins to lose faith in herself and in God’s plan for her life.
Reluctantly, she takes her old waitressing job back at the diner she worked all through high school to earn a little extra cash on the side. She also moves back home with her parents and her two little brothers, Cameron and Carter, in Rockton, Missouri. After coming home, Clara’s frustrations only seem to worsen when she sees how good everyone else is doing around her, including her old friends, Aunt Marcia, and especially Henry, the neighbor boy who grew up with her.
After scrolling through her social media feed and seeing how well off all her friends are doing, Clara feels confused, sad and alone. Clara’s dad suggests she check out a Bible study group or a Sunday school class at their church to meet new people and develop a better relationship with God. The first person she meets at the church is El Rimes, the pretty brunette who always has something positive to say. They hit it off right away, and she becomes Clara’s go-to person for anything. From El comes a whole crew of people, including Sam, Adam, Jules, Leah, etc. Clara starts spending a lot of time with these people, who help Clara on her journey of finding her path in life and re-connecting with God.
Immediately after returning home from college, Clara takes up her old job at Jimmy’s, a diner she’s worked at since her sophomore year of high school. One day during her shift, her childhood friend and neighbor Henry enters with all his jock buddies from high school, and he accidentally bumps into Clara, knocking everything out of her hands and into her lap. This not only embarrasses Clara but starts a feud between them. Eventually, they clear things up between them. Although they haven’t talked in a while and aren’t nearly as close as they were when they were younger, the reader can tell early on they still clearly care about each other. Clara has a big role in assisting Henry on his path to finding his faith as well, and they start to spend more time together.
The whole story in WAITING AT JIMMY’S is about Clara having trouble trusting herself to find a good paying job using her skills and the education she acquired through the years. She believes she’s done everything right up until this point: get good grades, partake in extracurricular actives, and graduate college. However, she still can’t seem to find her calling in life. She is in a place of desperation, and she keeps comparing herself to everyone else in her life and their achievements. More importantly, she struggles with her faith in God to provide for her needs.
As the story progresses, the reader sees the people around Clara start to change her for the better, including trying to uplift and encourage her. Clara ultimately sees God is faithful with His Word. She also sees that all those job opportunities where she was rejected and all the dead-end roadblocks she encountered were for the good in the end and that God was leading her to something so much better.
Readers will enjoy this first novel by Kristen Higgins. Kristen has a very good story going. People will relate to the worries and doubts of the main character Clara. Most of all, they will love Clara’s relationships with her church group, and how these relationships begin to change her and ultimately bring her closer to God.
Kristen took a class at MOVIEGUIDE® once, and it’s obvious how she incorporated elements she learned there into the book. For example, on page 10 she says after watching a movie her and her family talk about the movie, what they like, what they didn’t like, what the movie could have left out, what the message was behind the movie. And on page 84-85, she talks about being an intern for a Christian radio station.
That said, the book’s editing needs some work. It was very simple and bland to read most of the time, and there were many recurring words and sentences. It wasn’t always structured the best either. Conversations between some of the characters sometimes don’t seem too realistic. Clara’s character had just graduated college, but you would think by the dialogue and her actions that she was a teenager or some high-schooler. Also, some of the conflicts she has with her mother and Henry seem too melodramatic.
Other than these objections, however, Kristen does a great job with her first novel. She clearly has the potential to be a really great storyteller in the future!
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