Book Review -
One Baby Rose
By Jim Bello (SoulCake Press, 2006)
Reviewed by Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur
One Baby Rose is the debut novel by Jim Bello, a Catholic from
Tennessee deeply involved in the right-to-life movement at both the
local and national level.
One Baby Rose could certainly be called a
“right-to-life” novel as it explores the issues of both abortion and
euthanasia, but it is much more than that. It is also a well-crafted
tale complete with romance and suspense. It is a page-turner that will
make you eager to find out what happens next.
Nikki is a flower-shop owner whose life is going nowhere. Her business
is suffering due to the big box competition that has moved nearby. Her
gift of creativity has left her. She spends her nights out drinking
with her best friend, having casual sex, and waking in the morning to
regrets and a hangover. When Damien, a returned Catholic with a past
of his own, walks into her shop and places a $1000 order for 500 days
of a single baby rose, she really doesn’t know what to make of him. As
Nikki finds herself facing an unplanned pregnancy for the second time
in her life, she is eager to push Damien away but something keeps him
coming back. Meanwhile “Big Mike” faces caring for his comatose wife
against what seem to be insurmountable odds.
The characters Bello has created are real. Like all of us, they are a
mixture of good and evil, pure and impure motives. They struggle with
their spirituality and their faith as we all do when faced with
difficult circumstances. Decision-making is often not black and white.
While Damien does have a few moments of being preachy, one gets the
sense that is part of who he is. He has found his way back to the
straight and narrow after walking on the darker side and he is eager
to have others do the same. Ultimately, however, even he is forced to
confront his own ulterior motives.
One Baby Rose is valuable both as a story and for the questions it
raises. It would make for wonderful reading for a high school or
college ethics course. It would also spur a lively debate in a book
club setting. It should be recommended by every pro-life organization
in this country.
Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur is editor of The Spiritual Woman
www.spiritualwoman.net and the corresponding blog
© Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur 2006
Letters to Mary from a Young Mother
Patrice M. Fagnant - MacArthur
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