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The Art of My Life by Ann Lee Miller
Publication Date: 15 September 2012

Cal walked out of jail and into a second chance at winning Aly with his grandma’s beater sailboat and a reclaimed dream of sailing charters.


Aly has the business smarts, strings to a startup loan, and heart he never should have broken. He’s got squat. Unless you count enough original art to stock a monster rummage sale and an affection for weed.


But he’d only ever loved Aly. That had to count for something. Aly needed a guy who owned yard tools, tires worth rotating, and a voter’s registration card. He’d be that guy or die trying.


For anyone who’s ever struggled to measure up. And failed.
Review by Helen

We first met Cal and Aly in Ann Lee Miller’s debut novel, Kicking Eternity (see my review). Cal is a marijuana addict, son of a preacher who has just done time for possession. Aly, a girl with a promiscuous past and serious daddy issues, is the girl he’s loved since they were fifteen.

There’s also Missy — Cal’s not-so-little-anymore sister, and Fish — Cal’s estranged best friend, whose own chemistry make them co-stars of the novel.

If I were to describe The Art of My Life in one word, it’d be real. The characters are everyday twenty-somethings struggling to shed their past and establish their lives. Their language, internal insecurities, propensity to make mistakes, dysfunctional families and relationships all worked together to convince me that I was twenty again and living alongside them.

This is a more mature book than Kicking Eternity. There are deep emotions, a handful of coarse language, and plenty of romantic — sometimes, sexual — tension. In my opinion, this boldness and honesty just made the characters even more authentic. However, because of this, I would not recommend this book to younger teens.

The Art of My Life tugged at my heart strings as it was so easy to empathise with the characters’ internal pain. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and drama, and was rooting for Cal and Aly to get their happy ending.

Those who appreciate art or sailing might particularly enjoy this book.  Regardless, if you want a genuine, well written Christian fiction that isn’t confined by mainstream publishing mandates, and you’re not offended by a controlled, but realistic level of street language and non-explicit sexual tension, grab this book!