Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Review: Invisible, Part 1

With Invisible, Ginny Yttrup's third book, she has again succeeded at writing a rich, character-driven novel that both entertains and inspires.  I am privileged to be on her launch team for Invisible, which released today.Liz Curtis Higgs gives this endorsement:

"Her writing is fresh, winsome, and deeply spiritual. Faith isn’t merely a thread woven through the story; faith is the fabric upon which Invisible is stitched with a loving hand. Healing and hope can be found among these pages–not only for each character, but for the reader as well."

The following interview with Ginny was originally posted on the Christian Retailing website at http://bit.ly/14JJfNF.

What are the premise and theme of Invisible
Invisible is the story of three women, each hiding from themselves and others. Ellyn, a chef, has spent her life hiding behind a layer of extra weight; Sabina, a counselor, is hiding behind a wall of grief; and Twila is wasting away as she struggles with anorexia—she wants to disappear, literally. As the women are drawn together and their lives intertwine, they begin to see themselves in one another and come to recognize themselves as the beautiful creations they are.

The overarching theme of Invisible is freedom, which the characters enjoy once they accept themselves as ones created in the image of God. Embracing that truth frees the characters, and us, to focus on the glory of God living within us, rather than on our human flaws.

Why did you write Invisible?

I wrote this story because I am 5-foot, 1-inch and weigh 100-and-too-many pounds, according to the cultural standard. I wrote Invisible because for much of my life, I didn’t feel as though I fit in, or even that anyone could possibly find me attractive, and therefore, I wished I was invisible. I wrote this story because last year, when I turned 49, I realized and accepted, for the first time, that I am created in the image of God! And that blew me away!

I’ve heard theologians say that our souls are created in the image of God, not our bodies. Maybe that’s true—I’m not a theologian. But I was knit together in my mother’s womb by a loving and creative God who tells me in His Word that I’m created in His image—His Word also tells me that as a believer, I have His Spirit living within me. Wow! When I considered the truth of those facts, it became difficult to look in the mirror and complain any longer. There is so much more to me than the reflection staring back at me.

Ellyn makes a statement in Invisible that she’s never looked in the mirror and seen the image of God. From my experience, I don’t think Ellyn is alone. Nor was I alone in the struggle I battled for 49 years. My prayer is that readers will come away from Invisible seeing themselves as ones created in the image of God and will embrace all that means.
How is this an example of what has been called “Issues Fiction”?

One of the prevalent issues of our American culture is the notion that the models and actors we see splashed across magazine covers and movie screens represent an ideal image of beauty and body shape. As women, we often struggle because the ideal is often impossible to attain. We compare ourselves and then wonder, What’s wrong with me?
What research did you conduct to write on these issues?

I researched anorexia nervosa first on the Internet and then by talking with women who’ve struggled with that eating disorder. I researched other eating disorders and was interested when I noticed a common thread that seemed to run through all of them—whether it was eating too much or too little. I also used my own experience as a woman who has struggled with my own body image and weight for most of my life. Then I studied grief and its varying stages. Finally, as I do with each of my books, I had a wise Christian counselor read the manuscript to make certain I portrayed the psychological issues in a believable manner.

For Invisible, I was blessed to have Marilyn Meberg, counselor, author and speaker for Women of Faith, read the manuscript and offer her psychological insight and, ultimately, her endorsement. I also had the extreme privilege of consulting with novelist and speaker Liz Curtis Higgs as I wrote. Liz, a “big, beautiful woman,” as she refers to herself, advised me on how Ellyn might feel. Liz also wanted to make certain Invisible wasn’t offensive to large women in any way, which was precisely what I wanted to avoid. Large or small, we’re all created in the image of God!
Threads of the characters’ conversations weave together in a way that ministers to each of them specifically. Why did you choose this approach?

I hope that through the relationships I portrayed in Invisible, the reader sees a picture of the way the body of Christ works at its best. God works in and through each of us and touches the lives of those He places in our paths.

Who will connect with this story?

Readers who’ve struggled with their own body image or an eating disorder will connect with Invisible.  Also anyone who has fallen in love or anyone who has grieved the loss of a loved one will connect with Invisible. Finally, anyone who enjoys a good story—a story of transformation, restoration and romance—will connect with Invisible.

Learn more about Ginny at her website, ginnyyttrup.com.

Link to Amazon purchase:  http://amzn.to/YPaAK5

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