Friday, October 10, 2014

"the mason jar" by james russell lingerfelt

Peruse the Amazon reviews for The Mason Jar, and you'll see that it's a very divisive book. Either readers found it to be a beautiful, redemptive story ... or they kind of hated it.

What if your old college roommate called, raving about a book someone sent her, calling it the most beautiful book she's ever read? "But," she said, "it's about you." The author is your college ex.

In The Mason Jar, Clayton Fincannon is a Tennessee farm boy raised at the feet of his grandfather. He and his grandfather leave letters for each other in a Mason jar on his grandfather's desk---letters of counsel and affirmation. When Clayton attends college in Southern California, he meets and falls in love with a dark debutante from Colorado. However, when an unmentioned past resurrects in her life and she leaves, Clayton is left with unanswered questions.

Clayton goes on to serve as a missionary in Africa, while he and his grandfather continue their tradition of writing letters. When Clayton returns home five years later to bury his grandfather, he searches for answers pertaining to the loss of the young woman he once loved. Little does Clayton know, the answers await him in the broken Mason jar.

A story about a girl who vanished, a former love who wrote a book about her, and a reunion they never imagined.

Written for the bruised and broken, The Mason Jar is an inspirational romance that brings hope to people who have experienced disappointment in life due to separation from loved ones. With a redemptive ending that encourages us to love again and written in the fresh, romantic tones of Nicholas Sparks, The Mason Jar interweaves the imagery of Thoreau with the adventures and climatic family struggles common to Dances with Wolves, A River Runs Through It, and Legends of the Fall

When I read the synopsis of The Mason Jar, I was very anxious to get my hands on it. I thought it sounded intriguing and different. And while it certainly turned out to be unlike any other book I've read, I also have to say that I ended up falling into that second group of readers previously mentioned.

The aspect that I liked most about The Mason Jar was the relationship between Finn (Clayton) and his grandfather. His grandpa was a very wise man, and I enjoyed reading the letters he left for Finn in the Mason jar. Grandpa is really a small portion of the story (though his advice continually influences Finn), and I wish he and the Mason jar had been a larger focus.

I have to say that I was confused about a few aspects of The Mason Jar. Most of the story reads like a memoir, and I was never sure if that part was just being told from Finn's perspective or if it was actually Finn's book (also named The Mason Jar). Part of this confusion comes from the fact that when Eden (Finn's lost love) first hears about his novel, her friend tells her that Finn changed her name so that no one would know it was about her, yet she is called Eden throughout the entire book.

I also couldn't bring myself to care for Finn. The way he reacted to Eden's disappearance and his subsequent life choices certainly didn't endear him to me, but overall I just thought his story was boring. I really struggled to get through the novel.

The Mason Jar has been compared to a Nicholas Sparks novel, and perhaps that's where it loses me. It has been at least 10 years since I last read a Sparks novel (I got sick of the major characters dying or ending up alone), so I can't really speak to the similarities here. But I have seen a lot of films based on Sparks' novels, and I could definitely see The Mason Jar being made into a Sparks-esque movie.* (In fact, it's in pre-production right now.)

Ultimately, The Mason Jar was not a book I enjoyed. If you are a fan of Nicholas Sparks or are interested in a love story written from the male perspective, you might want to check it out, because you just may fall into that group of readers who find it to be beautiful and redemptive. 2 stars.

See what others are saying.
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*I don't enjoy Sparks' films any more than I like his books, yet I keep watching them, thinking that maybe someday there will be one that I like! The exception here is A Walk to Remember. Love, love, love that film ... and Shane West. But don't even get me started on the depths of hatred I have for The Notebook.

James Russell Lingerfelt is the author of The Mason Jar and writes articles for The Huffington Post. James connects with readers at his blog, Love Story from the Male Perspective, and divides his time between Southern California and his family's ranch in Alabama.

Find James online: website, Facebook, Twitter

James Russell Lingerfelt's debut novel, The Mason Jar, is hot-off-the-press and causing quite the buzz. It's even been optioned for a feature film and is in pre-production.

Catch the spark by entering James' Kindle Fire giveaway!
One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • The Mason Jar by James Russell Lingerfelt
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 19th. Winner will be announced October 20th at James Russell's blog, Love Story from the Male Perspective.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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