Flabbergasted (Ray Blackston)

Flabbergasted by Ray Blackston Rating: [rate 5]

Jay Jarvis just moved East.
His dating life’s gone south.
What else is a guy to do but go fishing?

Flabbergasted is a story of a twenty-something year old stockbroker who just moved to Greenville, South Carolina. Jay is not a serious Christian; in fact, he calls his religion “workaholic”, and it wasn’t until his real estate agent told him that in Greenville, the in thing are churches, not bars. So Jay drives to the North Hills Presbyterian Church, fully intending to meet females but he didn’t expect Ecuador missionary Allie Kyle to catch his eye. In order to get to know Allie, he volunteers to help out in their singles beach trip. There he meets his new best friend Steve, righteous-man-with-big-words Stanley, married surfer dude Ransom, The Numericals, Allie’s lime-green loving best friend Darcy (and her lime green Sherbet) and of course, Allie. Jay’s landing into the church feels so casual, and yet, “God had him at the collar” and was leading him into places he never would have imagined he would be.

Flabbergasted is a lad lit, a sub-genre of chick lit for men, where a twenty-something semi-successful man is the narrator. Reviews of this book are mixed; some of them really like this while some don’t. I fall in the former.

The novel, true to its nature, is very light and funny. The dialogues kept me laughing and giggling to myself while reading it and the characters are indeed so wacky but at the same time so real. I like how clean it is, with hardly any mention of sex or male enhancement or anything in that nature. The story is real enough in the sense that some people join religious groups to scope out some chicks or some boys, and while it’s not right, the novel shows that even with these kinds of intentions, God makes use of them to get us closer to Him.

Writing wise, some parts of the story are kind of hard to connect with each other, especially when the story suddenly turns into another part of Jay’s life. Some chapters are kind of skippable too, but they make up the story quite nicely. I think we will all see ourselves in Jay Jarvis as he eventually sees himself and what God wants for him. The ending is a bit obvious, but Jay’s realizations wraps it up really good.

It’s a good book, perfect for some light afternoon reading. :D

…I really just wanted to stay tight — tight to the south of God, right there in his shadow. Because outside of God’s shadow, I was just a gaudy plastic float filled with stubborn air, drifting off like a blind Jonah in search of Plan B, manipulating circumstances and wondering why I kept waking up in my very own Tarshish. But in God’s shadow I had been dazzled by the detour, amazed at the fraternity, and flabbergasted by the depth that comes from simplicity, from serving in a village that was shabby, green, and pulsing with life.”
– Jay Jarvis, p. 326