I requested to read this book in exchange for an honest review purely for the historical aspect it has. The fictional book takes place in 1949 from a young lady’s point of view and in 2018 from a woman’s point of view. I had never heard about the Miss Subways contest before reading the description for this book. I was so intrigued to learn a fascinating piece of New York City’s history. The Miss Subways campaign was actually placing ads featuring a different woman each month among other ads in subway cars. The goal was to draw the riders’ attention to look at the girls displayed with their picture and biographies and gradually to the ads next to Miss Subways for the duration of their commute. It lasted from 1941 to 1976.
The books itself portrayed the time period in 1949 so well, including the need for Charlotte, the main character, in that part, to have permission from her father and work her way from the bottom of a company in hopes of attaining a higher status. Her reason for being a Miss Subway was similar to many of the other girls that auditioned for and represented Miss Subways: they were paving the way for their future. It was a hopeful avenue for women to attain their dreams, unlike men during that time.
The characters in the present setting thought the Miss Subways ads were very fascinating but also sexist. I don’t think they were sexist and surely none of the women were forced to enter but I do think that it is strange that this was one of the few ways for women to have better opportunities in life. The main character in the present setting was Olivia. She worked for a company creating ads and creative visual ideas for her clients to imagine the potential they held for garnering more business. She helped resurrect those original Subway ads. While I admired her hardworking and defying demeanor, her overall character fell flat compared to Charlotte’s.
The entire book does a great job informing readers of the historical significance of Miss Subways, but I expected more from the ending. I was disappointed in how Olivia found validation and happiness in a man instead of solely her own accomplishments. Charlotte’s character held a lot more strength especially toward the end. Her life story was sort of a plot twist for me. Although this book is by no means a Christian book I enjoyed it simply because I learned something new about the women in the 20th century. I rate this book 4 out of 5.
The author James Patrick Dillon wasted no time getting to the heart of his story. The Stranger in Central Park starts out with a very violent situation and even with only words, it paints a graphic picture in the mind of readers. Katie is sexually assaulted in Central Park and hovering between life and death when a stranger appears out of nowhere. It’s the beginning of a revival.
Many people think the stranger is Jesus. Others think he could be a prophet or angel of God. There are a small portion of people who think this is the antichrist. In the midst of an upheaval in the world of people whose politicians are involved with scandal and their enemies threaten them with war, attacks and death, the stranger’s presence is a source of hope and curiosity.
Jake is one of those corrupted politicians. He cheated on his wife and feels no remorse until the unfolding of events leads him to think about his past and current life decisions. Katie, his younger sister is in mortal danger but he is much too focused on his role as mayor of New York City and hope for ascension to governor. Finally the message of the stranger gets through to him and he can see that his trust should always be in God.
Terry Stone is a news anchor covering the amazing appearance of the stranger and miraculous gathering in the park. People are there to be healed but also to surrender. They surrender their weapons, their need to fight, their impulse to hate and they lay them down.
The purpose of this book does not get right to the point but it sure drives it home. I may not agree with every opinion the author expresses through the stranger in the story, but I believe it is a very interesting and controversial topic to always be aware of. Jesus does not want us to hurt each other because it is as if we are trying to hurt the body of Christ therefore hurting ourselves. It is hard to let go when we think we have the power to take matters into our own hands but it is necessary for us to remember that God has all the power.
This book was brilliant but I would recommend having an open mind while reading it. There are countless curse words in it and ideas on self defense we instinctively feel resistant against. In addition to the graphic description of violence there are also brief settings of sexual relations between characters. Be sure to keep that in mind but if you start it I would continue to read through. It will be well worth it in the end! I rate this book 5 out of 5.