Thursday, May 30, 2013

This Isn't Normal by M.R. Tain

This Isn't Normal by M.R. Tain

Karla travels back in time to 1965 on the evening after of her great-grandmother's death.  She falls asleep at her great-grandmother's house and wakes up a house guest of the grandmother she never knew, Cheryl.  Cheryl and Karla are both 16, juniors in the same high school, though 40 years separate them.  Karla and Cheryl become fast friends and realize how similar they are, they even look alike.

Karla spends a week in 1965 and it changes her life as she knows it.  She attends a dance, listens to music on a turn table, watches TV on a black and white television set, goes to a dance, a football game, and has a date.  Karla and Cheryl talk and talk and talk which gets Karla to thinking that there are a lot of things she likes about 1965.

Fast forward to 2005 and Karla is reevaluating her life.  She wants to be just like Cheryl and begins to make small changes in her daily life.  She becomes friends with her grandpa, Cheryl's widowed husband, starts listening to the oldies station, she starts going to church and making new friends.  Karla transforms herself in a strong young woman.

The best part of This Isn't Normal for me was Karla's transformation.  Tain does an excellent job of taking a typical teenage girl and transforming her into a thoughtful, Christian young woman.  Tain captures the year of 1965 and the whole experience of Karla's time travel is very believable.  Tain creates a snapshot of two different years 1965 and 2005, existing 40 years apart and juxtaposes the two different time frames extremely well.  It was quite fascinating.

This Isn't Normal is a unique book that would appeal to adults as well as teens, especially adults that lived through the 1960's.  It is well-written, entertaining and fun.  At it's heart This Isn't Normal is a Christian based book.  Relationships are important to teens and it is hard to know when to end a relationship or start one.  This Isn't Normal is a homage to teens and the problems they encounter today and how to overcome those issues with help.  I think Tain is ultimately saying that God gives us free
will to choose our own path so choose wisely and live happily.