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A Bigger Life

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Joel has made some choices he now regrets. Just when he thinks the worst is behind him, he realizes he is facing his biggest challenge yet. And in the midst of tragedy, he learns forgiveness is more important in life than freedom.
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Overview


Joel has made some choices he now regrets. Just when he thinks the worst is behind him, he realizes he is facing his biggest challenge yet. And in the midst of tragedy, he learns forgiveness is more important in life than freedom.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Hairdresser Joel Carpenter thought he had it made when he won Kari's heart and she agreed to marry him, but married life doesn't turn out exactly as he planned. When a tragedy hits and the pressures of life seem to turn the couple into different people, Joel finds his home life spinning out of control. The only bright spot is their son, Colton. Smith writes in the first-person voice of a young male protagonist with a rawness that reminds one of W. Dale Cramer's Bad Ground. Joel is alienated from the church and God when he needs them most because of the way his gay father was treated by churchgoers. He has several Christian friends who try to show him God's unconditional love. They help him understand how God can let terrible things happen to people and still bring them through life's storms. This is an essential read for anyone who has experienced great loss and struggled to believe that God is still there. Highly recommended. Smith, a registered nurse, lives in Texas.


—Tamara Butler Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781576839959
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/28/2007
  • Series: Eden Plain Series
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.02 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author


Annette Smith is a lifelong Texan, a hospice nurse, and an accomplished storyteller whose book of short stories The Whispers of Angels has sold more than 100,000 copies. She is also the author of the Coming Home to Ruby Prairie novels. Annette lives in Quitman, Texas (population 3,000), with her husband, Randy, and an affectionate, shaggy mutt named Wally.
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2008

    A reviewer

    Written from a male point of view, I wasn't sure if I'd like it. However, I was so enthralled I couldn't put it down. I laughed, gasped, cried and rejoiced with Joel in all of his struggles and triumphs. Joel lays it out in his own words, the good, the bad and the ugly. His marriage is shattered and his life is in ruins until he learns the power of forgiveness. When tragedy strikes, he uncovers a greater truth that brings both pain and joy. A realistic, gripping novel unlike anything you've read before. An excellent book for your summer reading list.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2007

    Powerful Story, Beautifully Told

    I loved this book! You will too. A Bigger Life is a powerful, moving story of loss and redemption, hope and grace. It's soulful, honest, and beautifully written. I highly, highly recommend it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2007

    A Good Solid Read

    Recently there was a discussion on the ACFW email loop about authors writing in the POV of a genre different from their own. When I received the novel by Annette Smith for review, I thought 'How timely'. Here's a novel with a male protagonist and written by a woman. She pulls it off quite well as we follow the story of Joel Carpenter, a man who in many ways in broken but holding his own. Divorced, Joel supports himself and his son by working as a hairstylist at a local salon (and no, he's not gay or bi). He has a close knit group of friends, co-workers and customers who help him stay afloat. And he and his wife still get along okay as friends. I will confess upfront this is not a novel I would've purchased. I mostly read suspense/thrillers and it's various sub-genres. That said, it was still an enjoyable read for the most part. Having never been married or divorced and not having children of my own I didn't relate very well to the story. If you like this kind of contemporary story about a lone man's struggle with his past mistakes and the consequences that result, I can assure you, you'll like this novel. Smith capture the male voice very will in all of the male characters, showing us different shades. My only read criticism of the whole book is that sometimes I was confused as to whether I was in a flashback or the present. This is something many author struggle to do correctly. So, it's hardly a reason to discount it. I look forward to seeing more from Annette Smith. I hope will as well.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    enjoyable inspirational family drama

    In Eden Plain, Texas, hair stylist Joel Carpenter knows he messed up badly when his high school friend Leslie, who left town almost a decade ago, returned home to help her parents. She and Joel had an affair, which their spouses find out about this led to Kari divorcing him and sharing custody of their young child Colton he gets him on weekends like several of the other fathers do. He hopes to make it up to her by being the best dad to their son, but deep down he prays to the Lord, although he distrusts organized religion, that Kari takes him back. However, he soon has other issues to contend with when Kari informs him that she is dying from cancer they both know Colton must come first. Kari tries to forgive Joel¿s trangsression that devastated their marriage and persuade him to turn to God so that he can forgive himself. However, her comforting message from Psalm 51:17 and kindness from the ex-husbands¿ posse and others fail to relieve Joel of his anger over why bad things happen to good people at a time when Colton desparately needs his dad because he cannot comprehend what is happening to his mom. --- Told from the perspective of Joel, A BIGGER LIFE is an enjoyable inspirational family drama that grips the audience from the lead character¿s opening comment that though his rommate Abe is also a hair stylist, neither are the ¿stereotype¿ gay and never slows down as other prejudical notions are shattered. Joel is a terific protaongost struggling with a battered belief system at a time when he prays to the Lord to save Kari¿s life and his son needs to believe in him. The support cast augments the understanding of what Joel feels and disbelieves until friends help him find hope on a personal plane with Jesus. --- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2006

    Heart-Grabbing

    Wow! What can one say about a book that gets deep into your heart, grabs hold and won't let go? In 'A Bigger Life', author Annette Smith introduces the reader to Joel Carpenter, a man trying to do right as a divorced father. A man who cuts hair for a living. Having grown up under the prejudice of being the child of a homosexual father, Joel stands up for the things he believes to be right. He wants his wife back. He wants to erase his past mistakes. He wants to raise his son right. When an unforseeable tragedy strikes, Joel experiments with knowing God, believing in miracles and the promise of A Bigger Life. The reader will be able to relate to the characters Smith has created, getting into their thoughts, their feelings, their fears. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about life. - Cynthia Hickey, author and reviewer

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